RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- River Falls senior Autumn Tiede had ridden once before on top of the city fire department’s ladder truck.
“When I was a freshman when Sam Krueger won all those titles,” she said.
This past Sunday it was Tiede perched in the bucket at the front of the truck, after she won an individual championship in the floor exercise at the WIAA Division 2 State Gymnastics Championships a day earlier in La Crosse.
Tiede’s state title headlined the Wildcats’ fourth place team finish in their 20th straight trip to state.
Tiede’s score of 9.55 was the top floor score of the day and earned her her first state title in the event after finishing third twice in the last three years, including her freshman season when senior teammate Krueger won state titles on the floor, beam, vault and all-around.
Tiede also placed sixth in the vault Saturday, 11th on the uneven bars and 12th on the balance beam to finish eighth in the all-around competition with a total score of 36.025.
She said she was just happy the Wildcats were able to have a season this year, although it didn’t come without some hiccups.
“I'm just honestly happy we even had a season with everything going on,” she said. “I didn't think we would even have one. But we did end up getting quarantined halfway through our season and we had to step out for a week or two, but we came back the first week after that and got our season high and then we just kept rising from there.”
The Wildcats ended their season with another season high-- 140.975-- at state Saturday to place fourth, bettering their previous high score of 140.90 that earned them a sectional championship just a week earlier.
Wildcat co-coach Megan Peters said the team did an amazing job considering the circumstances this season.
“They hit another season high, which is a huge accomplishment to do at state,” she said.
Senior Madison Berg finished just behind Tiede in the all-around with a ninth place total of 35.875. Berg earned a fourth place medal on the uneven bars with a score of 9.15 and took 12th in the floor exercise with 9.125.
“Bergs had her best meet of the year at state, which is very hard to do,” Peters said. “She has worked through injuries throughout her high school career but was able to stay healthy this year and worked very hard to be an all-around competitor to finish her senior year.”
Co-coach Bridgette Lensing said another highlight of the meet was seeing four out of five Wildcats “sticking” their routines on the balance beam. Senior Eva Mikla led the way with a 9.0 and Berg and Tiede each scored 8.45 while senior Madisyn Tape had an 8.35.
“It started with Madisyn,” Lensing said about the Cat’s first competitor in the event. “Madisyn is strategically placed in the spot where she is because we can count on her to set the tone for our beam set, and when she sticks her routine it puts everyone else at ease and makes for a great beam set.”
Lensing also saluted freshman Rylee Sabelko for boosting the team’s score in her very first state tournament appearance.
“As a freshman she did a great job putting most of the pressures of state aside and focusing on what her role was as a part of our team,” Lensing said. “I believe it was a great experience for her to be alongside such influential upperclassman for her first high school state appearance.”
Whitefish Bay won the Division 2 team title with a score of 146.575 and Mount Horeb was second with 144.025 while Nicolet was third with 142.0