Sparta gymnasts to hold musical holiday meet - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Sparta gymnasts to hold musical holiday meet


SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- In a unique blending of talents, a group of gymnasts and an a cappella singing group from G-E-T High School, are coming together to put on a holiday show.

The coach of the gymnasts and the director of the group are a husband and wife team.

"It really is to get the community to know that we're here, and get us the support that we need to get the school board's attention," said Pagee Stuempges, the gymnastics coach.

Right now the Sparta school district doesn't have a gymnastics team. That's partly why 16-year-old Sarah Hogan now coaches.

"I started when I was three. In high school, there wasn't that sport, there was everything else I could have done. Here this is my own thing," Sarah said.

"They get to a certain point and there's nothing for them to do, there's no competing," said Ryan Stuempges, director of Vocal Point and Pagee's husband. "And some of these girls are at competition level."

"They just compete against each other," Pagee added. "And that's fun, but they're not really getting themselves out there."

But the interest in the sport is growing. Since Page took over as coach for years ago, participation has nearly doubled, with 150 kids ages 2 to 15 now enrolled.

"Just the feeling of being able to flip through the air, and competing with other people, it's just exhilarating for me," said Alyssa Stritchko, a 14-year-old gymnast.

And since competition is limited, Pagee makes sure the girls challenge themselves.

"She pushes us, which I like," Alyssa said. "We won't have a challenge if no one pushes us. She's there for us and we all trust her."

And though there wasn't a team for Sarah to join, she doesn't want that to stop the girls she teaches.

"I just tell them to work as hard as you can and practice as much as you can," Sarah said. "Make sure you can finish everything and get as far as you want."

The event is this Sunday at 4 PM, at 1000 East Montgomery Street. Tickets are $6 or $5 with a non-perishable food donation.

Sparta isn't the only school without a gymnastics program, in May The Aquinas-West Salem gymnastics team was cut by the school board due to a lack of participants.

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