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State Gymnastics: Willmar senior hits the state podium

Feb. 24—ST. PAUL — Willmar's Lyndi Koosman put together the best meet of her career and that effort led her to finish on the podium in the all-around at the Class A state individual meet on Saturday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

The senior gymnast placed fifth in the all-around, totaling a career-high 36.975 points. North Branch junior Dakota Esget, who finished third in 2023, won the all-around title this time around with a 37.600. Worthington senior Hali Bullerman was second at 37.250 after finishing in 10th a season ago and Monticello sophomore Lauren Hansen took third with a 37.150. New London-Spicer's Ciera Anderson, who was 11th in 2023, also reached the podium in eighth place (36.200).

Koosman is the first Willmar gymnast to make a state podium appearance since Haley Mottinger did on vault in 2016, according to Cardinals head coach Torrie Heitzman.

"It's a great way to finish," Koosman said. "It's a cool thing to happen.

"I wasn't expecting anything going into the meet. I was just hoping to do my best and put it out there. I'm proud of myself for that."

Koosman's career-day highlights an eight-spot improvement from 2023, where she finished in 13th place. Alongside earning a medal in the all-around, she reached the podium on vault and bars. Those two events were the first two she performed of the four.

Koosman kicked off the final meet of her high school career with a 9.450 on vault to finish third. Before her podium-worthy performance on bars, she had fallen hard after a stumble during the three-minute touch. She regathered herself and scored a 9.250 to place seventh.

"I just had to collect myself, pull it together," Koosman said. She did and went on to record a 9.000 on beam and finished with a 9.275 on floor.

Anderson's meet ran smoothly until the final event: floor. She scored a 9.425 on vault to earn a fifth-place podium finish following a tiebreaker between her and Bullerman and also reached the podium on bars with a 9.350 to take third.

Anderson would go on to score a 9.050 on beam before she fell on the final pass of her floor routine, which dropped her to a 8.375 for the event."I'm really happy with how I did," Anderson said. "I don't think I really could have done any better besides the fall on floor and I still got on the podium, which is crazy. I'm so happy about it."

Anderson aimed for a podium spot for bars, but the addition of two more podium finishes was the cherry on top for the senior.

"I was only really expecting bars and I didn't expect the others," Anderson said. "I'm super happy with it."

New London-Spicer's Abby Knudsen also found herself on the podium. In the final event of her meet, she posted a 9.325 on floor to take seventh place.

The junior, who competed all-around, finished 13th at 35.425. She had an 8.850 on vault, 8.650 on beam and 8.600 on bars.

"I wanted to redeem myself," Knudsen said. "It just felt amazing to just land the last pass and then see the score."

Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg's Gwen Wilcox put together solid showings in her two events. The junior tied for 14th on floor with a 9.250 and won a tiebreaker to place 18th on beam (8.950).

New London-Spicer's Kaitlyn Preheim also found herself finishing in a top-20 spot. She was 17th on beam (8.975). The junior also competed on floor (9.100) and bars (8.075).