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Ahrndt hangs up coaches whistle after 25 years as head gymnastics coach

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The end of the 2023-24 gymnastics season marked an end of an era for Benson/KMS. After 25 years serving as the head coach of the Benson/KMS gymnastics team, Kathy Ahrndt has retired after creating one of the most successful athletic programs in Benson.
Arhndt arrived in Benson in 1991 to start her teaching and coaching career. She coached for 10 years before taking a hiatus while expecting her third child in 2001, she stepped back in as head coach in 2009 and has coached through this season. In addition to her 25 years of varsity coaching, she ran youth camps and programs for a total of 33 years.
With so many memories packed into 25 years of coaching, it can be difficult for Ahrndt to narrow down her favorite memories. “Every team holds a special memory for me, but there are a few highlights that stick out,” Ahrndt said.
One of the biggest highlights was the 1994 squad who was the top team in the section and remains the lone team to qualify for the state meet. The last two seasons were also highly successful with the team being ranked in the top-10 in state and being invited to compete in the Class A True Team Meet. “Taking numerous individuals throughout my career down to compete among the best at the state meet will always be regarded as a high point. To watch an individual’s hard work and goals be achieved is truly rewarding,” Arhndt added.
During her 25 years as head coach, the Benson/KMS team went from competing/practicing in the hallways and cafeteria at the school, to the Benson Armory, to finally having their own facility built on school grounds.
When she first started, the team would practice in the hallways and cafeteria of the high school and the team was excited in 1994 to get a little more room to maneuver when the city of Benson allowed the team to use the Armory. A big downside was that they were responsible for taking down the equipment on Friday nights and set it back up on Saturday or Sunday by the coaches, parents and athletes.

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