Tobler named Northfield Gymnastics Club's new coach - Northfield MN: Sports

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Tobler named Northfield Gymnastics Club's new coach

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Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:30 pm | Updated: 1:31 am, Sat Aug 31, 2013.

John Tobler III knows his way around a gymnastics gym. Growing up in a family that spent copious amounts of time with the sport, “Johnny” – as he’s known in gymnastics circles – drank it all in.

“I pretty much grew up at the gym,” Tobler said.

Now, he’ll be running the gym in Northfield. Tobler was recently named the head of the Northfield Gymnastics Club (NGC), taking over for Kjersten Wheeler.

“Those of us who have been over here for a while are really excited,” Northfield High School gymnastics coach Melissa Bernhard said. “Johnny has an immense amount of experience in a variety of gymnastics organizations.”

Those experiences range through club gymnastics, USA Gymnastics, high school gymnastics, and the Midwest Amateur Gymnastics Association (MAGA), which the NGC works under.

“I’m looking forward to all this,” Tobler said. “It’s been a great last three years for me at [the] USA [level] to grow as a coach. That’s been a good time for me to build.”

Those are the most recent building blocks on a gymnastics career that’s been in place for decades, including working with NGC coach Paul Bernhard in the past.

“We knew of him [as a potential coach],” Bernhard said. “When we were trying to find someone we started talking to other coaches. One person we spoke with suggested we go after Johnny. We started connecting with him and getting him to apply.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Tobler – who grew up in Dayton – comes to Northfield on the tail end of two straight runner-up finishes for the Raiders at the state meet.

“We want to get them back there and win it,” Tobler said.

Bernhard said a major reason Tobler was chosen as the NGC’s new coach was that he understands the kind of desired relationship between the high school and club level.

“He sees Northfield gymnastics as a program, not a split. Not, ‘This is club, this is high school,’” Bernhard said. “He has a passion to work with us to know proper progression and consistency is happening. He’s super willing to work together with us to really build a program.”

Having come from programs where athletes more consistently seek higher levels – college scholarships or beyond – the idea in Northfield will be different.

“That’s not the pressure to get a college scholarship at this level,” Tobler said. “Which is not to say that it’s not competitive.”

“The idea that a gymnast comes through this program all the way…I hope she remembers how she was prepared by that for life,” Tobler added. “If gymnastics is the only goal then as the coach you’ve got the wrong focus.”

The combination of Tobler’s past experiences and Northfield’s passionate gymnastics community has Bernhard excited about the future.

“He’s able to take all the things he’s done, the experiences he’s had and the philosophies of all these places, and he can pull them all together in a way that fits the Northfield community and what we want to do,” she said. “He realizes that we are working to be successful at the high school program.”

“I’m really excited to hear about how much the community here cares about gymnastics,” Tobler said. “It’s a great program.”

Reach Sports Editor Jordan Osterman at 645-1111, or follow him on @NFNJordan.

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