Tigers ready to meet high expectations
The Farmington gymnastics program is in its fourth year under head coach Amanda Lund and the rebuilding and retooling phase is done. Expectations are high under Lund after the Tigers broke numerous varsity and junior varsity records the past two years.
"They were really, really, really good years," Lund said. "The best Farmington gymnastics has been in school history and our numbers are bigger than they've ever been in school history as well. A lot of girls in the program, a lot of new talent which is really cool to see because we're probably in the most competitive conference in the state."
However, those results are secondary in Lund's mind to developing her gymnasts as individuals and emphasizing accountability and team unity.
"We're focusing on the individual and who they are as young women," she explained. "After that comes scores and skills, and they're super competitive which is important."
Returning this season are the three senior captains; Abby Schwartz, Lauren Slayton and Samantha Maynard. Lund said all three will be critical to whatever success Farmington will achieve this upcoming season.
"Lauren, if all things go to plan, this could be her third time going back to state," she said. "Abby has narrowly missed state for two years in a row now. They changed a bunch of rules this year, so if the rule changes would have been in place two years ago she would have gone to state the last two years as well. So they will be huge scorers for us this year."
Making it all gel, according to Lund, is their fellow captain Samantha Maynard.
"She is a quiet and gentle leader, but someone I trust immensely and someone who really positively changes the atmosphere in the gym," Lund said. "She is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached, and her energy is contagious."
Lund also said to keep an eye on two newcomers to the varsity team this year, freshmen Sarah McCormick and Madison Ask.
"They will be major contributors, which is exciting," she stated.
Lund has her own goals for every season that do not change, but on top of that this year she thinks the team can reach the highest level of competition.
"Every year, if I can walk out of the season building relationships with girls and instilling some positive life lessons in them on how to be better humans, I always feel successful," she said. "But this year specifically, Farmington gymnastics has never made state as a team and we have a very tough section, but there's potential for us to be super competitive this year and I think my goal would be to give state a big run for its money this year and qualify as many individuals as we can."
The South Suburban Conference as a whole will prove to be a tough obstacle for the Tigers however.
"You will see seven or eight of our schools at the state tournament, either as a team or individuals," Lund said. "Rosemount and Eagan are always top teams, Lakeville North won state as a team last year and Lakeville South is good, they're all going to be very competitive."
Qualifying will be even more difficult this year as Rosemount moves into Farmington's section to go along with rival Owatonna.
Heading into the first few meets, Lund said her team's strengths are there work ethic and confidence and this year's team really believes they can make it to state and have shown they are willing to put in the work to get there. As for any area they will need to improve upon during the season, Lund said it will be important for the Tigers to develop five solid beam routines and some more advanced bar routines.
On the team this season are Schwartz,Slayton, Maynard, McCormick and Ask; juniors Hannah Sorensen and Olivia Grundman; sophomores Madeline Hins and Madison Jones; and freshman Bailey McCuddin.
The Tigers start their competition season with an invitational on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Becker High School. Their first home meet is Tuesday, Jan. 9, against Lakeville South.