RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- None of the girls on the River Falls gymnastics team were even born the first time the Wildcats qualified for the WIAA State Tournament, but there hasn’t been a year since that the Cats haven’t gone.
River Falls qualified for the state tournament for the 20th straight year last Wednesday in Onalaska by winning the Division 2 sectional title with a team-high score of 140.9. The Wildcats will be seeking their seventh state title when they take the floor at the Elite Gymnastics Center in La Crosse this Saturday, Feb. 27.
“We are just thankful for this year's opportunities,” co-coach Jordan Mair said. “We could not be more proud of our girls and what they have accomplished.”
Maier said the Wildcats pushed themselves to do their best routines Saturday in Onalaska, and it paid off with a season-high score of 140.9. In addition to the sectional team title, three Wildcat seniors will also be competing as individuals at the state meet this weekend in La Crosse.
Autumn Tiede parlayed a first place score of 9.45 on the floor, and third place scores of 9.3 on the vault, 9.075 on the balance beam, and 8.6 on the uneven bars into a winning all-around total of 36.45. Tiede will compete in all four individual events and the all-around this Saturday at state.
Tiede will be joined in the state individual competition by teammates Madison Berg and Eva Mikla. Berg won the sectional bars title with a score of 9.0 and was third on floor with a 9.175 while placing fourth in the all-around with a total of 35.0.
Mikla qualified as an individual with a second place score of 9.2 on the floor, giving the Cats a sweep of the top three spots in the event.
Co-coach Bridgette Lensing said the Cats’ fast start on the floor provided the energy for the rest of the day.
“We started on floor, which helped give us the energy we needed to have our best meet of the year,” she said. “It also helped to keep our momentum going and spirits and confidence high.”
In addition to taking the top three spots on the floor, freshman Rylee Sabelko contributed a seventh place score of 8.95 Sabello also boosted the Cats’ team score on the balance beam with an eighth place score of 8.75 while senior Madyson Tape was ninth with an 8.7.
Berg also reached the awards stand with a sixth place score of 9.05 in the vault while junior Lexi Epstein just missed reaching the podium by tying for seventh on bars with an 8.1.
This Saturday’s state meet will begin with individual competition at noon at Elite Gymnastics in La Crosse, followed by the team competition at 5 p.m. The Wildcats, who finished fourth at last year’s state meet in Wisconsin Rapids, will be seeking their first state title since 2013.
Hudson sending three to D1 state meet
After missing last year’s state tournament with an injury, Hudson senior Caroline Erikson will make her third and final state appearance this weekend after winning the all-around title at the Division 1 sectional meet Saturday, Feb. 20, in La Crosse.
Erikson will be joined at state by teammates Maddi Fish and Emily Warren after the trio took three of the top four spots in the floor exercise. Erikson won the event with a score of 9.4 and Fish took second with 9.225 while Warren was fourth with 9.05. All three will compete on floor at this Saturday’s Division 1 state individual meet in Wisconsin Rapids.
Erikson also qualified on the uneven bars and balance beams with third place scores of 8.65 and 8.975, respectively, on her way to winning the sectional all-around title with a total score of 35.75.
Hudson finished fourth in the sectional team standings with a score of 134.2. Stevens Point won the team title with 136.025 and will be joined at the state team competition by Eau Claire Memorial/North, who was second with 134.925.