NEW PRAGUE, Minn. -- The balance beam has been a challenge for the New Prague High School gymnastics team lately, but on Tuesday night in a competition against Chaska and Chanhassen they set a new school record.
The Trojans scored 148.2 and broke the girls' varsity record by one point. They will all tell you doing it wasn't easy.
"It was hard at first. I mean at practice none of us could really do anything and it was hard getting used to not having him there," Jessica Niedermayer, a senior on the team, said.
Last December, head coach Matt Shetka died suddenly while shoveling snow. Cardiac arrest took a beloved and legendary coach. For a while his death also took away the team's confidence.
"We hit a rough patch on the beam and that was bringing us down," Sydney Samson, a senior who competes on the vault, said.
But the 22 member team knew they needed to move on. With a little time, a new coach, and some new routines they're back in the game.
"He would just be so proud of us. I think he would say that he knows we've worked so hard for this," said Niedermayer, who has a twin sister on the team.
Doug Amundsen, who was Shetka's assistant coach for nearly two decades said the team still has its moments of struggle, but he knows Shetka is never too far away to help.
"He's in the back of their heads. He's in the back of my head. Every day I'm going, 'OK, Now what would Matt do?' And it helps all of us," Amundsen said.
The Trojans take on the Farmington Tigers on Friday.
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