- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

MONTROSE, S.D. (AP) - It’s already been an odd season for the state’s Class A all-around runner-up gymnast.

Jocelyn Krouse, a sophomore at Montrose High School, has been competing on the school’s gymnastics team as the lone member on the roster.

It’s very different from her freshman season.

Last year, Krouse practiced and competed as a member of Madison’s gymnastics team, which won the Class A team title for the third year in a row and 19th time total, through a one-year co-op setup between the two schools.

In May, the Montrose School Board voted to dissolve the cooperative 5-0 and one month later, the Madison School Board followed suit.

That left one of the state’s top gymnasts without a team to compete.

“We really liked it over there and the year went great,” said Kristi Krouse, Jocelyn’s mother, about the co-op with Madison. “We were kind of blindsided. We had no idea it was coming.”

Kristi said she considered open-enrolling Jocelyn to Madison, but travel back-and-forth during winter months wasn’t going to be worth it.

From Montrose to Madison is 28 miles and takes around 30 minutes, while Montrose to Mitchell is 46 miles along Interstate 90.

Jocelyn has two brothers that attend school in Montrose, and she is a cheerleader for the football team and competes for the McCook Central/Montrose track and field team. Jocelyn won the Class A long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 6.75 meters.

After weighing all the options, Kristi and Jocelyn decided to start a team for Montrose and compete under Montrose for the season, with Kristi acting as the team’s head coach, the (Mitchell) Daily Republic (https://bit.ly/2iI43jd ) reported.

“I think the biggest downfall is she doesn’t have a team and that’s really difficult,” Kristi said. “I admire her a lot for (competing solo). It wasn’t an option to quit. Once Madison fell through, we were going to find a way.”

So far this season, both Kristi and Jocelyn have said the new experience has gone smoothly, considering all the adjustments that were made.

“There is less practice time and there isn’t girls around to push you so you have to push yourself,” Jocelyn said. “It’s teaching me how to do things on my own. You have to learn how to do things on your own after high school and when it comes to starting your own life.”

Currently, the Montrose team rents from MEGA gymnastics in Mitchell for practice time and space.

Jocelyn and Montrose have “piggybacked” on the schedule of the Parkston/Ethan/Hanson gymnastics team this season.

“It doesn’t affect the time (of the meets) because they don’t have enough (kids) for a full roster,” Kristi said. “It doesn’t add on any time so there’s no reason why people wouldn’t accept us.”

Both Kristi and Jocelyn added working closely with MEGA gymnastics, Mitchell High School gymnastics and Audra Rew has been beneficial with Jocelyn saying she’s motivated by many of the Mitchell gymnasts.

“Audra has been great. The other girls have been great. They welcome her and cheer for her,” Kristi said. “I’ve learned how to be a parent and a coach. That’s been huge. It’s a learning experience and we’ll continue to do that.”

Jocelyn has been competing in gymnastics from a young age - starting at seven years old. She began in Sioux Falls at Power and Grace Gymnastics and then moved to All-American Gymnastics.

“I like how it teaches you how to conquer your fears,” Jocelyn said about the sport. “Each skill has its own flaw that you have to overcome.”

Last year, Jocelyn finished second in all-around at the state meet with a score of 36.250. She finished second on the vault (9.125) and bars (9.025), while taking third on the beam (8.900) and sixth in floor (9.2).

Kristi credited her daughter’s strong background in the sport for her success, adding Jocelyn was “in the gym all the time” and is self-motivated. Kristi called the situation they found themselves in odd, but noted gymnastics is a unique sport that tends to only work for bigger towns.

“My coaching experience is you yell,” said Kristi, who played collegiate basketball. “In gymnastics, you don’t yell. You have to be quiet.”

As far as goals for the season, the Krouses are happy to be competing and are looking to improve each meet.

“I’m excited to see where she can go this year,” Kristi said. “Her goals are to get her personal best.”

___

Information from: The Daily Republic, https://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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