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Gymnastics: New rules, same results at Simley

It didn't take long for the Rosemount gymnastics team to witness how scoring changes will affect the scores this season.

Significant changes were made this season to how judges will score routines. In the end, it has made high scores more difficult to attain and gymnasts need to show more skills to receive a full difficulty scoring.

The Irish opened the season with a first-place showing at the Simley Invitational, the seventh year in a row they have won the team title at the meet. Last year they scored 138.7 on the way to winning the Simley meet. This season, Rosemount posted a 132.55 overall team score.

"It's harder; the better kids will really shine now," Irish coach Jason Passeri said. "It's not going to hurt just us; it's going to hurt everybody. Everyone will be affected by the new rules. We'll have to get used to it.

"It should be a fun year. We'll keep plugging away."

While scores might be down, winning the five-team Simley Invitational demonstrates the Irish will still make their mark this season. However, Rosemount might accomplish similar results in a different manner.

Typically boasting an elite all-arounder, the Irish will look to several individuals to aid the scoring.

"Only thing about this year that will be different than most is we'll have 11 or 12 different kids competing varsity this year," Passeri said. "We're young and we don't have much experience at the varsity level.

"It won't be a down year. I can't look at it like that. We work too hard to have a down year. We just don't have the depth we've had in the past. If someone gets hurt, we'll be replacing with a lot lower scores. In the past, we've always had someone like a Katie Murgic that could always carry us with a 37 all-around. We could count on that. Now, we'll need much more of a team effort than in the past."

Passeri's lineup doesn't lack for talent.

Kathy Aune and Paige Henke are senior captains with varsity experience. Junior Claire Holtz returns after earning all-state honorable mention status last season.

The team also returns ninth-grader Cami Marx, sophomores Jana Elliot and Jenna Schlukebier who earned varsity time last year. The Irish welcome three key newcomers from club teams in seventh-grader Abby Nelson, ninth-grader Kailey Askew and ninth-grader Kiera Drymalski.

"Abby Nelson is really good," Passeri said. "She has a lot of potential. She's a hard worker and we're excited to have her on the team. Kailey, she's worked out all summer with us. She's going to be tough. She's super, super athletic. She learns things really fast."

At Simley, Nelson showed her promise by finishing second in the all-around competition with a score of 33.9. Schlukebier was sixth in the all-around with a 32.75.

In the vault, Aune was second with an 8.9. Askew was third with an 8.7. Askew was third on the uneven bars with Nelson placing fourth individually.

The change in scoring this season was evident on the balance beam.

Askew won the beam with a score of 8.55

"I think that's the lowest I've seen win a beam," Passeri said.

Holtz was third on the beam with an 8.35 and Nelson's 8.2 was good for fourth.

Aune managed a 9.5 to win the floor exercise. It was one of just two 9-plus scores in the meet.

Schlukebier earned an 8.8 and placed fourth. Askew and Holtz tied for fifth with scores of 8.7. Nelson was seventh with an 8.5