RIVER FALLS, Wis.-- The Wildcat gymnastics team is picking a good time to peak.
The Cats posted a season-high score of 136.775 to take first place at the six-team La Crosse Central Invitational Saturday, Feb. 1, two days after scoring 131.95 to beat Menomonie and Superior in their final home meet of the season.
The Cats will wrap up Big Rivers Conference regular season competition Tuesday, Feb. 4, in Menomonie before preparing for the BRC Tournament Saturday, Feb. 22, at Eau Claire Memorial, and co-coach Bridgette Lensing said it’s just a matter of fine-tuning things as the season winds down.
“Looking ahead at the meets that we have left, we have really put a big concentration on some basics, perfecting what we have, and making everything big,” she said.
Lensing said the Cats’ hard work paid off with a season-high team score as well as 11 individual personal bests, including three each by Eva Mikla and Autumn Tiede, Saturday in La Crosse.
Mikla posted personal highs in the floor exercise (9.1), uneven bars (8.1) and balance beam (9.15), and Tiede had highs of 9.475 on floor, 8.85 on bars and 8.2 on beam.
Lexi Epstein had personal bests of 8.1 on bars and 8.725 on beam and Sophia Jensen contributed a personal best score of 8.425 on floor.
Lensing said she could tell before the meet the girls’ were ready for a big day.
“Right before we marched in, when we were circled up, you could tell that the girls just had a more relaxed feel to them,” she said. “Because the girls seemed relaxed and more at ease, we told them that this is a great opportunity to see not only where our competitors are but to also try to put some extra pressure on themselves to see how they performed with that pressure. So that when the time comes for sectionals they know how to navigate and focus during that big meet pressure.”
Two nights earlier Tiede and Mikla swept the top two spots in the all-around as the Wildcats stayed undefeated in conference competition by beating Menomonie 131.95 to 119.1 and Superior 131.95 to 105.0.
Tiede won three individual events with scores of 9.25 on vault, 9.2 on floor and 8.3 on bars and added a third place score of 8.025 on beam to take the all-around with a total of 34.775.
Mikla won beam with an 8.9, took second on floor with 8.85 and second on vault with 8.8 while placing fifth on bars with 7.45 for a second place 34.0 all-around score.
Maddie Simpson made her return from injury and took second on bars with a 7.85 while Madisyn Tape was third on bars with 7.65 and fourth on beam with 7.875.
Lensing said the Cats’ honored their lone senior-- manager Allison Raverty-- on Senior Night.
“She has been with our program her entire high school career, two years as a competitor and two years as a manger,” Lensing noted. “She brings such a great upbeat, positive and supportive attitude to the team not only at meets but daily at practices. We are very proud of her and all she has done and she is going to be greatly missed next year.”
Lensing said having a large student fan section on hand also energized the team.
“It was great to see such support from other RFHS students,” she said. “It brought a new life to the meet for the girls and was something that helped them have a successful meet.”