Ask Ariyana Stalsberg about the start to the high school gymnastics season and her eyes light up.
A look at the early numbers for the Janesville Craig junior and her Cougars teammates will help tell you why.
Craig’s first team score of the season Saturday was more than eight points higher than its starting score from a year ago. And Stalsberg has added balance beam back into her repertoire to join the all-around competition.
Olivia Rebout won the all-around Tuesday with a score of 32.150, Stalsberg was second and the Cougars topped Janesville Parker, 123.175-101.925, in a crosstown rivalry dual meet to open the Big Eight Conference season.
“It’s nice to be able to go over there and show them what we’ve got,” Stalsberg said Tuesday in the hours before the meet. “We’ve got some new freshmen, and they’ve been a really nice addition to the team.
“I think we started around 119 last year, so that’s a nice jump. It’s a good place to start, and now we’re just looking forward to excelling over the next few weeks and throughout the season.”
Rebout finished in the top three in all four events to carry the all-around against the Vikings. She scored 8.75 to dominate on uneven bars.
Stalsberg won on vault and floor. Craig’s Caci Hazeltine won on balance beam.
“We had some beam falls that hurt our team score, but we saw some good improvement on the other events,” Craig coach Jean Welch.
Stalsberg said she is excited to be competing in the all-around this season.
Balance beam used to be her favorite event. Bouts with dizziness kept her from competing on the apparatus her first two prep seasons.
“It’s exciting,” Stalsberg said. “I’m better now, so I made the decision this year to do beam now. I’ve been working on it, and worked on it last year, and I just wanted to put it in this year.
“It’s nice that I can do it again.”
Kyleigh Werner led the Vikings, finishing sixth in all-around and fifth on vault and bars.
“We are taking our mistakes this evening from our first conference meet and have a few weeks to clean up routines, have better connections on bars & put more power into our vaults,” Parker coach Heidi Jegerlehner said. “I have a young team of girls excited to learn and grow.”
Though Craig’s team score dipped from Saturday’s 127.925, the Cougars hope they are laying the foundation for a solid season.
“We’ve been working on more skills throughout the summer, but we’re just not quite event-ready yet,” Stalsberg said. “So we’ll be adding them in the next couple weeks.
“We just want to see our team score keep growing.”
Parker competes in Elkhorn on Friday night. Craig competes at Mequon Homestead on Saturday.
CRAIG 123.175, PARKER 101.925
All-around—Olivia Rebout (JC) 32.15, Ariyana Stalsberg (JC) 30.550, Caci Hazeltine (JC) 29.9
Vault—Stalsberg 8.15, Hazeltine 8.1, Rebout 8.05
Uneven bars—Rebout 8.75, Stalsberg 7.25, Gracie Hill (JC) 7.125
Floor—Stalsberg 8.3, Rebout 8.0, Phoebe Werner (JC) 7.9
Beam—Hazeltine 7.75, Werner 7.5, Rebout 7.35