The Wildcat gymnastics team posted a season-high score of 138.6 to win the WIAA Division 2 gymnastics sectional in West Salem Saturday, Feb. 23, and qualify for the WIAA State Team Tournament for the 17th straight year.
River Falls has won six state titles during that stretch and finished as runner-up five times, including the last three years.
In addition to the sectional team title, Autumn Tiede and Madison Berg won individual titles and will be joined at the state individual competition by teammates Natalie Swick and Eva Mikla.
"We did what we set out to do," co-head coach Bridgette Lensing said. "All of our season's hard work paid off when it needed to. As a team we not only took first place and qualified for state but did so with a season high score. We couldn't be more proud of this group of girls and can't wait to see what they will do next weekend."
Tiede earned her second trip to state as a sophomore in the all-around after winning the floor exercise with a score of 9.425, placing second in the vault with 9.15 and third on the uneven bars with 8.55. She added a ninth place score of 8.65 on the balance beam to post an all-around total of 35.775, just 0.025 behind all-around champion Ella Krause of West Salem.
"Autumn Tiede had an excellent day," co-coach Lauren Kaminski said. "She has become more and more consistent throughout this season and has become one we can rely on for solid all-around scores. She still has a ton of potential yet to show us."
Tiede's classmate Berg, who had missed the last several weeks with an injury, won the uneven bars with a score of 8.975 on the Wildcats' last rotation of the day to earn her trip to the individual state tourney as well as help seal the team title.
"She only had four practices prior to competing Saturday," Kaminski said. "She was our very last routine of the day, so when she landed her dismount it felt like a grand finale."
The team's lone senior, Swick, qualified for individual state in two events by placing second to Tiede in the floor exercise with a score of 9.3 and third in the vault with 9.1.
"We're really proud of her for her hard work throughout the season and for earning the chance to compete at state," Kaminski said.
Sophomore Mikla was the fourth individual state qualifier for the Cats with a personal best score of 9.05 on the balance beam to place second.
Sophomore Izzy Seyffer boosted the Cats' team total with a sixth place score of 9.0 on the floor exercise, a personal best for her in the event, to give the Cats three of the top six finishers.
"Floor always has lots of energy and excitement and today was no different," Lensing said.
Even the trip down to West Salem Saturday with a snowstorm on the horizon didn't damper the enthusiasm of the Wildcats, according to Lensing.
"Even through blizzard warnings I think the bus ride down set a great tone for the day," she said. "So much energy and excitement was coming from the back of the bus. The team was ready to have a great day."
The Cats will look for another great day this Friday, March 1, at the WIAA State Team Tournament at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School. The State Individual Tournament will take place in the same location Saturday, March 2.