MARSHALL - Head coach Heather Buysse is liking what she is seeing from her Marshall High School gymnastics team.
Interest in the program is up this season as 19 gymnasts have enrolled.
"We have a lot of new girls on our team this year, which is up from 11 girls last season," Buysse said. "This gives us a lot more variety in skills. Some of these girls have never done gymnastics, but they mixed with other girls who have participated in gymnastics their entire lives. I think this can help us build up the program now and in the future."
Buysse envisions creating a team that has much versatility.
"I would like to have a lot girls be able to compete in all of the events. That would help us in case of injuries or other issues," Buysse said.
Still, the Marshall varsity roster has only one junior, three sophomores, three freshmen and an eighth-grader.
"We still have a pretty young team. Kami Love, who transferred here this year from South Dakota, is our only junior." Buysse said. "Kami has been a gymnast for a long time and we can count on her to compete in the all-around."
Other all-around performers include sophomores Meg Ellis and Natalie Rademacher.
"It has helped to have a lot more gymnasts because, in previous years, we could not fill our JV roster," Buysse said. "Plus, we can bring girls up to varsity, if there is a spot to fill."
The larger roster has already paid off.
Hailey Aguirre, a freshman, has an ankle injury and will miss an undetermined about of time this season. She normally competes in the floor exercise.
Ashley Thies, a transfer from Redwood Valley who competes in floor exercise, has moved up from the junior varsity squad to fill in for Aguirre, while she heals.
Other varsity squad members include Nicole Deragisch, a freshman who competes in vault, bars and floor exercise; Shauna Vandendriessche, a sophomore, who competes in balance beam and Kayla Nelson, a sophomore who competes in balance beam and parallel bars.
Buysse believes her squad is solid in fundamentals, but could use some tinkering.
"We would like to improve in our presentation, which consists of showing pointed toes, having nice movements with straight arms and legs," Buysse said. "For the most part, our girls are fundamentally sound gymnasts. We would just like to fine-tune some things."
Marshall began its season last Thursday with a close loss at Benson (118-102) before participating in the Mankato East Invitational on Saturday. The Tigers host Worthington at 6 p.m. Thursday.