SPASH gymnastics duo prepares for state

By Scott Williams
For Central Wisconsin Sports

March 1, 2019

STEVENS POINT – Korinne Trueman-McGuigan and Katelyn Trowbridge have special plans together this weekend.

The Stevens Point Area Senior High duo will have the opportunity to compete in the Division 1 individual state gymnastics meet for the first time Saturday.

Katelyn Trowbridge

But their journeys to get to Wisconsin Rapids in their first season of high school varsity gymnastics competition has been quite different.

Trowbridge ran track last season as a freshman. Involved in club gymnastics for six years, she opted to return to the sport to experience the team atmosphere at the high school level.

All the sophomore did was qualify for state in all four events – balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars and vault – along with earning a spot in all-around.

“I’m really excited. I’m definitely glad I pulled through,” Trowbridge said. “My goal  the beginning of the season was to make it to state, but I was maybe hoping one or two events. To do it in four, I was like, ‘Wow, this is really exciting.'”

Trueman-McGuigan had never competed in high school varsity gymnastics prior to her senior year.

Instead, her high school life centered around the cheer team at SPASH. But Trueman-McGuigan wanted to try something different and gymnastics looked like fun.

It gave the senior another avenue to perform in much the same vein as cheer. Trueman-McGuigan was a natural fit in floor exercise. But the thought of qualifying for the state meet never crossed her mind.

Yet here she is at the Division 1 state floor exercise competition Saturday at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School. Competition is scheduled to begin at approximately 11:30 a.m.

“It’s been a really great season actually and I’m just really excited about the opportunity to go to state. That’s crazy,” Trueman-McGuigan said. “I was kind of surprised, but making it individually is a really good honor.

“I thought I would try something new. I like floor exercise the most because I do get to perform. You get to pick your music and make a routine.That was the most fun part about it.”

Korinne Trueman-McGuigan

Trueman-McGuigan and Trowbridge continue a long tradition of a state presence for SPASH at the state meet.

In all 11 seasons at the helm of the SPASH gymnastics program Jennifer Bellmer has had either her team or at least one individual qualify for the state meet.

She couldn’t be happier for Trowbridge and Trueman-McGuigan.

“For us to be taking two ‘newbies’ it’s exciting. It’s really special to have them going,” Bellmer said. “It’s really exciting to have (Trowbridge) eligible on every event. For Korinne, this is her one and only chance, and we’re going to celebrate that.”

She wasn’t sure who would continue that string of state appearances.

Bellmer knew Trowbridge had a gymnastics background. But considering the injury and lack of high school experience to make it to state in all four events and all-around was a heck of an accomplishment.

For Trueman-McGuigan to make it to state as a senior in her only season of gymnastics was quite a feat, according to her coach.

As a veteran of the state atmosphere and experience, Bellmer has some simple advice for both of them.

“I really want them to focus on being able to really enjoy the experience. I usually have kids who tend to do better when they can relax and just enjoy the experience,” Bellmer said. “Those two are really poised when they perform. I definitely think they have a chance to do well at state. It’s definitely possible. I’ve seen that out of them.”

Trowbridge injured her right elbow in the first meet of the season. That put her on the shelf for a little while and also delayed her development.

Once she was able to return to competition, Trowbridge continued to make strides in every event, including the uneven bars her favorite apparatus.

Trowbridge put it all together at the Chippewa Falls sectional and now has a chance to experience the state meet on top of high school gymnastics for the first time.

“I don’t know why I like bars. I guess it’s different. A lot of people like floor or beam, bars is different. I like it,” Trowbridge said. “I’ve learned about relaxing instead of getting so stressed out right before I go to compete in an event. Just take one skill at a time.

“I’d like to get my all-around good. Have clean landings and staying tight in my form.”

Trueman-McGuigan wants to soak in the experience.

Of course, she wouldn’t mind capping off her lone high school gymnastics season on a podium in floor exercise. But the priority will be to make the most of her lone trip to state.

“I just want to have fun. Make it clean and perform,” Trueman-McGuigan said.

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