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Steve Hangartner had a vision for Watertown-Mayer's gymnastics team when he was hired to coach it in 1987: Run it like a collegiate program. It wasn't greeted with open arms.

"I got some backlash from a few people," said Hangartner, who came to the Wright County Conference school 35 years ago from Waterloo, Iowa. "I gained a lot of experience coaching in Iowa but had to prove myself and develop a program here."

He did both of those things, and this year he is the Star Tribune's All-Metro Girls' Team Coach of the Year.

Hangartner directed the Royals to the Class 1A state tournament in 1988. Now, 16 state tournament trips later, Watertown-Mayer/Mound Westonka is riding back-to-back Class 1A championships. For nearly all of last season the Royals owned the top team score for both classes despite competing in the smaller class.

The Royals haven't lost in a dual meet since 2012, and not because of an easy schedule.

"We want to go against the best,'' Hangartner said. "I want our kids to get as much out of it as they put into it."