Amanda Lockhart was a freshman on the 2002 Elkhorn Area High gymnastics team, which qualified for the state meet and finished eighth in Division 2 that year.
Today, she’ll return to state as a head coach.
Her Elks placed second in Saturday’s Whitefish Bay Sectional to advance to the WIAA Division 2 state meet, set to begin at 2 p.m. today in Wisconsin Rapids. The individual competition is scheduled for Saturday at 11:15 a.m.
Lockhart’s role has changed, but some things haven’t.
“I am just as nervous,” Lockhart said. “I want them to do well. I can kind of relate to them and help them with that. It’s really rewarding and it’s very cool we’re going back as a team.”
Elkhorn is making its fifth team state appearance and first since 2011. The Elks are long on talent, but short on state experience. Just junior Christa Jacobs, who qualified on the balance beam last year, has competed in a state meet.
Senior Cameron Jacobson narrowly missed qualifying in 2017. She’ll be busy this weekend, competing on all four apparatus tonight during the team event and again Saturday during the individual competition.
“It’s cool to actually get it this year, and not miss it by such a small amount,” Jacobson said. “I’m excited, mostly for the team aspect of it. This year, we’ve tried to build a more positive environment and try and get everyone motivated and want to do well, not just for themselves but for the whole team.”
The Elks have had state on their minds since the beginning of the season. A high-flying freshman class boosted what was already a strong roster. Freshman Brianna Taylor has been a fixture in each of the biweekly state honor rolls, and will compete individually Saturday on the beam and floor exercise.
Rebecca Wheeler has been a key member of the rotation. She qualified individually on the uneven bars.
“We didn’t know how good we would be, but it was kind of on our radar,” Amanda Lockhart said.
Sophomore Marlie Lockhart is an individual state qualifier on the uneven bars.
Elkhorn was ranked No. 5 in Division 2 in each of the four state honor rolls this winter. Top-ranked Whitefish Bay is the heavy favorite to win its third straight state title tonight.
The Elks hope to make a run at the school record (137.9 points, set in 2001), and cap what’s already been a tremendous season.
“I feel like a lot of the pressure’s off, now that we’ve made it,” Amanda Lockhart said. “We’re pretty set in that fifth spot with not a ton of room to move up and not a ton of room to move down. As long as we go out and perform our best, that’s what we’ve been stressing to the girls.”
Burlington co-op hopes to challenge Franklin
Lake Geneva Badger sophomore Regan Cassidy will participate Saturday in the Division 1 individual all-around competition. Tonight, she and her Burlington co-op teammates will attempt to dethrone top-ranked Franklin, which is aiming for its third straight title.
Badger freshman Ava Trent is listed on Burlington’s roster on all four apparatus for tonight’s team event.
The Burlington co-op is making its first team state appearance since 2014.