MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW)- The Marshfield gymnastics team qualified for the state tournament for the first time last year, led by a newcomer that made her mark immediately. Now she, and the team are back and hungry for more this season.
Marshfield gymnast Gracie Holland during practice at Marshfield High School in Marshfield, WI, on January 28, 2020. (WSAW)
"I just went out there and did what I knew how to do, and that's compete."
Rewind to last March, when the Tigers’ Gracie Holland, in her first year of high school gymnastics, won the all-around portion of the individual competition at the state meet in Wisconsin Rapids.
"It was really cool, it meant all my hard work paid off," said Holland. "I wasn't really expecting to win, but I knew I had what it took. And my mom's been coaching it for so many years, and it meant so much just to watch her, because she actually cried when I won that."
Gymnastics runs in Holland's blood. She's been involved in the sport at the club level since she was a toddler, but last year was her first time competing on a team. Why was her junior year the right time to make the jump?
"I started talking about it, and I watched the team, and my friends be on the team, and I was like 'that looks like fun'", Holland says. "So me and my mom were like, 'why not do it?' it's a once in a lifetime experience, I won't have high school again."
Because last year was her first at the high school level, the eventual state champ flew under the radar, and was relatively anonymous to her competition.
"I know a lot of the girls that were there the previous year, the year before last year, they had no idea who I was," Holland says. "They didn't know about me, they definitely were surprised."
"But this year everybody's kind of watching out for me now."
Also being watched closely: Marshfield as a team. They've followed up their first state appearance as a qualifier with an undefeated season to date. They have the eye of the Tiger looking to make back-to-back appearances.
"I think they want it again," says head coach Allie Dryer. "They know what it was like to be there, and they want to be able to get back there."
No one would be surprised if the Tigers make another charge to Rapids with Holland leading the way. It's a young, but great team, something she consistently tries to remind them of.
"Be confident in yourself," Holland says of her message. "You've been doing it for how many years? How many hours? You just have to be confident in yourself and know that your body knows what to do."