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WIAA DIV. 2 GYMNASTICS - Another sectional title sends team back to state

Another sectional title sends team back to state
Medford-Colby senior Kyla Krause puts together a winning routine on the uneven bars during Friday’s WIAA Division 2 Antigo sectional. Krause the event with a score of 8.725. BRETT LaBORE/THE LAKELAND TIMES
Another sectional title sends team back to state
Medford-Colby senior Kyla Krause puts together a winning routine on the uneven bars during Friday’s WIAA Division 2 Antigo sectional. Krause the event with a score of 8.725. BRETT LaBORE/THE LAKELAND TIMES


While there were some surprises during the meet in terms of how it happened, the Medford-Colby gymnastics team did what it expected to do Friday in capturing the program’s fifth straight WIAA Division 2 sectional championship and its sixth straight team berth in state competition.

The Raiders dominated the eight-team field in the Antigo sectional, scoring 135.5 points to outscore their nearest competition, the Ashland Co-op, by more than 11 points. The Oredockers earned the second team state berth out of the meet with 124.35 points.

In the individual aspect of the meet, Medford-Colby senior Kyla Krause won the all-around competition and earned statequalifying scores in all four events. Freshman Raylin Rothmeier set a personal record by compiling 33.925 allaround points, good for third and a state berth as one of the five qualifying allarounds from the sectional. She won the balance beam and earned state-qualifying scores on the uneven bars and floor exercise and just missed on vault.

In the night’s biggest surprise, Medford-Colby had four of the five state qualifiers on the beam –– oftentimes their most troublesome event of the season –– with Veronica Mateer and Bridget Cloud taking fourth and fifth.

“It was really about the individual because we knew we’d probably get first place as a team,” senior Kaileigh Mientke said.

“We still went in knowing that we had to give it our all,” sophomore Delaina Meyer said.

“We wanted as many individuals to go as we could, which is cool that we got everybody except two people that competed that day to make it,” junior Shayla Radlinger said.

The team state competition will take place Friday at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School starting at noon. Medford-Colby is one of 10 Division 2 squads competing. The individual state championships are Saturday and start at 10 a.m.

“It’s our last meet (of the season),” Meyer said. “We’re going to have fun with it. We’re going to live in the moment.”

Sectional success

Medford-Colby’s team score Friday was its third-highest of the season, not far behind the school-record of 136.375 also set at Antigo on Jan. 27 and the 136.075 they posted just six days earlier at the Great Northern Conference Championships at Rhinelander, where they won the Large Division meet, beating rival Marshfield.

That recent success had the team feeling confident it would outscore the rest of the competition Friday. The Raiders had the highest team score in every event and by wide margins in most cases.

“I think going to Antigo is always a confidence booster for us because we always seem to do good at Antigo,” Mateer said. “They have good equipment and just an overall good facility compared to other meets.”

The widest margin came on the beam where Medford-Colby’s 34.675 points were a season-high and outscored the nearest team, Ashland, by 4.275 points.

“That’s the first time all year we had no falls and probably ever,” senior Ellison Carbaugh said.

“It was kind of scary going to beam because a lot of people were falling,” Krause said.

The gymnasts felt the scoring was a little tough on vault and bars, but that changed on the beam, starting with Krause’s leadoff routine that earned an 8.65. Rothmeier won it with her personalbest 8.95, Krause wound up third, Mateer got an 8.6, just a tenth off her best and Cloud got a personal-best 8.475. Radlinger added a solid eighth-place score of 8.25, tying her second-best mark of the season.

“I was just surprised, honestly,” Rothmeier said. “When I saw my score I looked at Kyla and I was like freaking out.”

“I loved it,” Mientke said of her teammate’s winning routine. “Because in Stevens Point (Dec. 5) when I was doing timing for the judges, after Raylin was done, a judge looked at me and said, ‘if she has no falls she could have a very high score on her beam.’” Cloud was another Raider who was surprised at her score.

“It was very unexpected,” she said. “I was kinda surprised that I scored that high because, as a gymnast, we’re always really hard on ourselves,” Mateer said. “I was thinking, ‘I did this, I did that. That should’ve been more of a deduction.’” “I thought I did so many things wrong, I didn’t feel like it should be like that,” Cloud said.

“She was pleasantly surprised,” the team’s head coach Andrée Brushaber said, adding that assistant coach Megan Yanko had one the funniest lines of the meet when Cloud talking more about what went wrong than what went right by suggesting Cloud “just be happy.”

For Mateer and Cloud this is their first individual state-qualifying performances.

“It felt very good because it’s something I’ve been working toward for a season and a half,” Mateer said.

Krause won the sectional championship on the bars with an 8.725, a full threetenths over Rice Lake standout Avery Ash. Leanna Lipske of the Ashland Co-op was third at 8.15, Rice Lake’s Makenzie Dalsbo was fourth at 8.075 and Rothmeier got to state by tying the Grantsburg Co-op’s Abby Rombach for fifth with her 8.025.

“I actually did the right routine without an extra giant,” Krause said. “My score was a little bit lower than I thought, but all of the bar scores were kind of low.”

“I’ve been on and off on bars, so it’s weird for me to go to state on bars,” Rothmeier said, adding that hitting her giants was the key. “I had done that once in a meet before that.”

Meyer placed seventh for Medford-Colby with a 7.95, Mateer was 12th at 7.525, just off her season-best 7.675 and Radlinger was 15th at 6.925. The Raiders’ 32.225 points where just a half-point behind their season-best.

The Raiders tied their best score of the year on the floor at 34.475 and that was an event they felt they were at their best. Krause won it with a season-best 9.225, ahead of Ash’s 9.0. Rothmeier took third with an 8.6, while Meyer and Radlinger just missed the state cut, taking sixth (8.375) and seventh (8.275). Mateer was 11th at 7.9. The Ashland Co-op’s Tessa McFarlane (8.575) was fourth and Antigo’s Virginia Praslowicz (8.5) got the fifth spot.

“(Floor) is the part where you can just let go and really not think about the meet,” Krause said.

Krause’s win was even more impressive considering her music stopped temporarily in the middle of the routine.

“She stayed with the tempo of everything because when the music came back on it was right where it needed to be right on the beat,” Brushaber said.

“That’s why you practice your routine without music too,” Krause said. “I was trying to keep my legs together on my passes and my landings, just trying to clean up the little things.”

Medford-Colby started the meet on vault. Ash won with her 9.325. Krause was second at 9.15. Rothmeier’s 8.35 was good for sixth, just 0.05 points behind fifthplace Annie Lundgren of Antigo. Mateer was eighth at 8.325, Radlinger was 10th at 8.3 and Meyer tied for 13th at 8.25.

“I think we started off really strong with vault,” Radlinger said. “We did our own thing on vault good and just started off strong.”

Mateer placed seventh in the allaround standings with 32.35 total points and Radlinger was 10th with 31.75.

The rest of the team scores were: 3. Rice Lake, 123.775; 4. Antigo, 121.875; 5. Grantsburg Co-op, 114.975; 6. Rhinelander, 104.65; 7. Mosinee, 103.9; 8. Lakeland, 101.225.

Going in relaxed

The Raiders said Monday they feel confident and relaxed going into the state meet. Other than Rothmeier, all of the gymnasts have competed on that stage before so they know what to expect.

While the Raiders obviously want to do the best they can, they also know they probably aren’t going to catch teams like the West Salem Co-op or Elkhorn, who posted team scores in the 140s at their sectionals, which eases the pressure as well.

“I want to place as a team higher than seventh,” Krause said referring to last year’s team placement. “I think we should get something like fifth.”

“We definitely have the potential,” Brushaber said.

In a season of change with Brushaber and Yanko taking over as coaches and with injuries hitting several members of this small team at one time or another, the Raiders said they are proud of how they pulled together at the end.

“We started out the season with a really rough score and we were all scared,” Radlinger said. “It felt like it was just not going to be a good season.”

“Injuries were just one after another,” Mateer said.

“It feels really good,” Meyer said. “It makes me more excited for next year too.”

“I think it’s good how we all came together with the injuries, just figuring it all out,” Krause said.

The Raiders also said they were glad to see their former coach, Steve Cain, be in attendance and still encouraging them at their conference and sectional meets.

“I like that our new coaches still involve him in everything,” Meyer said.

“He was here for so long and it was such a big part of his life,” Mateer said.