For the City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The 48th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Gymnastics State Championships will take place Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, at Lincoln High School.
The team championships will begin Friday at 2 p.m. The individual competition will begin at 11:15 a.m. Saturday. Ticket prices for the championships are $6 per session and are available at the door.
Champions Format: Ten teams will compete for the Division 1 and Division 2 team titles. The top two teams from each of the five sectionals in each division qualify for the meet. The top five individuals in each event and the top five all-arounds at each sectional qualify for the State individual championships.
Competing Teams: There are 10 teams that compete for the team State championship in both divisions. The teams qualifying in Division 1, with the number of times the programs have qualified for the team competition in parentheses, are Arrowhead (13), Burlington/Badger/Union Grove/Williams Bay/ Wilmot Union (1, with new co-op), Eau Claire Memorial/North (11), Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall (11), Grafton/Cedarburg (5), Hartford (2), Hudson (6), Middleton (22), Nicolet (18) and Sun Prairie (4). The 10 teams competing in Division 2 are Antigo (14), Ashland (17), Dodgeville/Mineral Point (3), Elkhorn (5), Jefferson (2), Mount Horeb (31), River Falls (28), Viroqua/Cashton/De Soto (1), West Salem/Aquinas/Bangor (2) and Whitefish Bay (23). There were 80 teams in the tournament series this year, including 40 in Division 1 and 40 in Division 2.
Team Tournament History: The WIAA has sponsored the State Gymnastics Championships since 1971. The event featured one division from 1971 through 1977. The State tournament series competition was divided into two divisions in 1978. Whitefish Bay has won the most team championships with eight, which doesn’t include two titles with Shorewood as a co-op. Waukesha West/North/South is next on the list with seven. River Falls and the co-op of Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall are next with six. Brookfield Central, De Pere and Mount Horeb have five titles. Nicolet and Southwestern/Cuba City have won four championships. Beth Weber of Whitefish Bay/Shorewood has won the most individual championships in meet history with 10. Gina Piazza of Fall River is next with eight, and Jenny Donar of Southwestern/Cuba City has won seven.
Last Year: Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall Co-op won its second consecutive Division 1 team championship with a team score of 147.8167. The Kenosha Bradford/Indian Trail/Tremper/Westosha Central Co-op placed runner-up with a score of 146.8333. Individually, Samantha Weyker of the Kenosha Bradford/Indian Trail/ Tremper/Westosha Central Co-op won the all-around competition with a score of 37.967. She also tied Abigail Missiaen of the Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall Co-op to claim the title in the vault with a score of 9.8. Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn of Middleton won the uneven bars with a score of 9.30. Lexi Penney of Brookfield East/Central captured the gold medal on the balance beam with a score of 9.55. Her teammate, Caitlin Locante, was the champion in the floor exercise with a routine that scored a 9.75. In Division 2, Whitefish Bay won the team title for the second straight season and for the membership-leading eighth time overall with a score of 140.7833. River Falls was runner-up for the second straight season, finishing with a score of 139.4667. Individually, Aly Yurkowitz of Whitefish Bay was the big winner, winning three events and the all-around. She won the all-around for the second year in a row with a score of 37.92. She won the vault with a mark of 9.48, the uneven bars with a 9.43 and the balance beam with a 9.37. Sam Krueger of River Falls claimed her second consecutive title in the floor exercise with a score of 9.83.
Division 1 Notebook: One event in Division 1 will feature the defending champion returning to contend for another crown. Sophomore Lexi Penney of Brookfield East/Central returns to the balance beam competition in pursuit of retaining the title she won in the event a year ago. Based on a number of performances at the sectionals last week, a number of talented gymnasts that haven’t won titles previously should contend for individual titles and the all-around championship this week. In Division 1, senior Lexi Romero of Brookfield East/Central won the all-around at the Oconomowoc Sectional on the strength of her first-place finishes in the balance beam and the floor exercise. She was third in the all-around at State last season and fourth in 2016. Senior Tyra Turner of Madison East/La Follette won the uneven bars and vault en route to the all-around title at the Madison Memorial Sectional after placing 10th in the all-around at State in 2017. Junior Brynn Tackett of Manitowoc Lincoln won three events and won the all-around competition at the Manitowoc Sectional. Sophomore Lydia Anderson of Franklin/Muskego/ Oak Creek/Whitnall won the uneven bars, vault and all-around titles at the Waukesha West Sectional, and junior Natalia Matton of Eau Claire Memorial/North won the all-around, balance beam and floor exercise events at the Wisconsin Rapids Sectional.
Division 2 Notebook: Senior Sam Krueger of River Falls is the two-time returning champion in the floor exercise. Her floor routine last year was awarded the highest score in State meet history at 9.83. She is back seeking a third title in the event. If she succeeds, she will be the first gymnast to win three straight titles in the floor exercise since Amber Rohde of Southwestern/Cuba City did it from 2001-03. She may also contend for the all-around title again this season after placing third last season and fourth in 2016. She won the West Salem Sectional all-around crown fueled by wins in the vault, balance beam and floor exercise. Sophomore Miah Lemanski of Dodgeville/Mineral Point was fifth at State in the all-around last year, and she returns after placing runner-up in the all-around at the Tomah Sectional, which included first-place finishes in the balance beam and vault. Sophomore Lydia Korn of Viroqua/Cashton/De Soto edged Lemanski for the sectional all-around title, which included a win in the floor exercise. Senior Krista Taylor of Mount Horeb won each event except the balance beam to capture the all-around title at the Mount Horeb Sectional. She finished sixth in the all-around at State last year and seventh in 2016. Freshman Addie Gallun of Whitefish Bay claimed the title in three events and the all-around at the Whitefish Bay Sectional. Sophomore Lakyn Sonday of Washburn placed in the top three in each event, including victories in the floor exercise and uneven bars, to win the all-around at the Antigo Sectional.