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WIAA Division 2 state gymnastics meet preview

What: The 50th WIAA state gymnastics championships.

Where: Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids.

When: The team competition starts at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 6, while the individual competition starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 7. March-in begins 10 minutes before each competition.

Who: The Medford-Colby-Gilman Raiders have qualified for state team competition in its first year as a co-op. Medford qualified for last year’s meet and the Raiders also had a team in the 1972 state meet. Depleted by injuries, Medford finished 10th in last year’s team standings with 93.7667 points. Individually on Saturday, Raider sophomores Brooklyn Bilz and Makala Ulrich and freshman Anna Wanke will compete as all-arounds. All three also posted qualifying scores on vault at the Antigo sectional, Wanke and Bilz qualified on the uneven bars, Wanke qualified on the balance beam and Wanke qualified in the floor exercise. Junior Megan Wanke will compete on floor, and freshman Kate Malchow will compete on bars and beam.

Division 2 team qualifiers: Sectional champions and their sectional team scores include Whitefish Bay (143.45), Mount Horeb (143.45), Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro/ Cochrane-Fountain City (136.95), Sparta (134.525) and the Medford Co-op (134.175).

Sectional runners-up and their sectional team scores include Elkhorn (137.3), River Falls (135.475), Waupun (134.425), Platteville-Belmont-Lancaster (131.975) and Ashland-Mellen (128.05).

Whitefish Bay is the four-time defending champion and has won the most team championships in WIAA history with 10, excluding two titles it won in a co-op with Shorewood. River Falls has won six state championships. Mount Horeb is making its 33rd team trip to state. It’s the 30th state berth for River Falls, the 25th for Whitefish Bay and the 19th for Ashland.

Division 2 notebook (compiled by the WIAA): Junior Addie Gallun of Whitefish Bay is the returning champion in two individual events and the all-around. She is the two-time champion in the uneven bars, and she earned the championship in the floor exercise a year ago. Her title in the all-around last year came on the heels of a runner-up finish in 2018. Gallun is also the top returning gymnast in the vault after finishing runner-up last season. Furthermore, she was second in the balance beam behind only Lorisa Shatrowka, a sophomore, of River Valley/Barneveld, who won the balance beam title in 2019. She returns in defense of the crown. She may also challenge Gallun in the all-around and floor exercise after her third-placed finish in each of those events last season. In addition, she is among the leading candidates to contend for the uneven bars title after placing in a tie for seventh last year.

Others among last season’s top finishers in their respective events returning to possibly contend for a title are junior Drea O’Connell of Mount Horeb, who finished runner-up to Gallun in the floor exercise, uneven bars and in the allaround last season. She also placed tied for second in the vault and was fifth on the balance beam. Sophomore Lily Wiegand of Sparta, and senior Miah Lemanski may also contend for the crown in the vault. They return with experience, having placed fourth and tied for fifth, respectively in the vault last year. Wiegand was also one of the top finishers in the floor exercise and balance beam last season, placing in a tie for fourth and sixth, respectively. Senior Marlie Lockhart of Elkhorn looks to improve upon her fourth-place finish on the bars.

Sophomore Anneh Britz of Whitefish Bay returns to the balance beam following a fourth-place standing a year ago, Sophomore Ella Krause finished fifth last season on the bars, and junior Autumn Tiede returns to the vault after tying for fifth last year. Senior Isabella Doege of Waupun is back after tying for sixth in the floor exercise in 2019. Another top contender for the gold medal in various events based on last week’s sectional performances is senior Lakyn Sonday of Washburn, who won all four individual events and the all-around at the Antigo sectional.

Friday’s schedule: There will be 11 rounds of competition during Friday’s team event. The Medford Co-op will compete on vault in round two, on the uneven bars in round four, on the balance beam in round six and on the floor exercise in round nine.

Saturday’s schedule: There are five rounds of competition during Saturday’s individual event. Qualifiers from the Antigo sectional will compete together. Vault qualifiers will compete in round two, bars qualifiers will compete in round three, beam qualifiers will compete in round four and floor qualifiers will compete in round five.

––Sports Editor Matt Frey