Depth key for MHS at state gymnastics meet

Two years ago, Madison Reiter and Hannah Werchau played perhaps the most integral of roles in the Minot High gymnastics team’s state championship.

They were the youngsters on the squad – not expected to contend in the all-around, but heavily relied on to provide points here and there in the team competition.

“We were lacking a little bit of depth and Hannah and Madi came through with their best performances of the year by far to kind of help us win at that time,” Minot co-coach Marisa Albertson said.

The tables have turned now. Reiter and Werchau will shoulder the load for the Majettes in the team competition at the state meet today in Bismarck. They’re two of the top contenders to win the all-around Saturday in the individual competition. So naturally, Reiter and Werchau, a junior and sophomore, will depend on the team’s fresh faces to provide points as Minot searches for its five state title in six years – after placing second behind Dickinson in 2013.

“For them to come together this year, I think it would mean a lot to this particular group of girls,” Minot co-coach Robbie Werchau said.

Last year, Dickinson ended the Majettes’ four-year reign as team champions. In two meetings this year, they’ve each won one and placed second in the other.

Minot has won the team title in all but one meet this year: the Kim Lupo Memorial, where the Midgets snatched the hardware.

The Majettes claimed top honors last weekend at the West Region meet.

“After we took second, I think we realized how much harder we needed to work, so we kicked up our practices and started doing more reps,” Reiter said.

Minot placed more importance on the balance beam, which Albertson said tends to decide tightly contested meets. That’s where Reiter and Hannah Werchau’s comrades came through at the West Region showdown. If Hailey Fix, Savannah Fix, Jenna Breuer and the rest of the Majettes can adequately supplement their top duo, a similar result is foreseeable this today.

“Absolutely we can repeat it because it just finally came together and the girls just did what they do in practice for the most part,” Albertson said.

Gymnastics is about adrenaline as much as any sport. It’s about composure, too. Albertson says her Reiter and Werchau have both.

“If I have to rely on Hannah and Madi, I’m feeling pretty good because they’re just solid, good competitors,” she said.

But it may be Reiter and Werchau who will be relying on others. They’ve been in that position and thrived, in 2012. Reiter’s advice?

“Don’t put too much pressure on themselves,” she said. “Just go out and have fun.”

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.