Gymnasts win 5th consecutive BRC titleThe Wildcat gymnastics team posted its highest score of the season the night of Friday, Feb. 17, to wrap up its fifth straight undisputed Big Rivers Conference title at the BRC Tournament at Meyer Middle School.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat gymnastics team posted its highest score of the season the night of Friday, Feb. 17, to wrap up its fifth straight undisputed Big Rivers Conference title at the BRC Tournament at Meyer Middle School.
River Falls finished with a team score of 143.250, over five points higher than second place Eau Claire North/Memorial. The tournament victory comes after an undefeated 5-0 record in BRC duals and gives the Cats the conference championship outright.
“The team has been working on increasing percentages of ‘hit’ routines, and it paid off,” head coach Shelly Kahut-Loomis said. “As a team we competed 20 routines and at the BRC they hit 19 of the 20 total. This is what we had been working for and we are very happy with all the gymnasts’ efforts. This is what we will continue to polish up on as we get ready for sectionals on Saturday.”
The Cats will compete at the WIAA Division 2 sectional Saturday, Feb. 25, in Galesville in search of their 11th straight trip to the WIAA State Gymnastics Tournament.
Junior Riley Claude won the BRC all-around title by nearly a full point, finishing with a total score of 36.6, despite a fall on the balance beam. Claude took first in the vault with a 9.425, first on the uneven bars with 9.45, third on floor with 9.225, and 11th on beam with 8.5.
“Riley is in a good place right now,” Kahut-Loomis said. “She will need to stay consistent and strong all the way through to the end.”
Senior Rose Tashjian finished fifth in the all-around with a total score of 35.175. Tashjian tied for first with teammate senior Amanda Guise on the balance beam, each with scores of 9.075, while finishing fifth on the floor with 9.15, seventh on the uneven bars with 8.35 and 16th in the vault with 8.6.
“All her routines were hit and she has been working hard at practice to finish up her gymnastics season on a high note,” Kahut-Loomis said about the senior. “There are very strong all-arounds in the BRC and it is an honor to finish in the top five.”
Junior Paige Skorseth won the title in the floor exercise with a first place score of 9.35, and took fourth on the balance beam with a 9.0 to give the Cats three of the top five finishers in both events.
River Falls had three of the top six finishers on the uneven bars, where in addition to Claude’s first place finish, freshman Karin Sollom took fourth with a score of 8.65 and sophomore Karlie Place was sixth with 8.4. Tashjian and senior Ruth Anderson-Benge both scored 8.35 to miss spots on the awards podium by five-hundredths of a point.
“Senior Ruth Anderson-Benge has a very good routine and we expect it to be amongst the top routines in sectionals,” Kahut-Loomis said.
Place also earned a spot on the podium in the vault next to Claude by posting a second place score of 9.2.
Kahut-Loomis said she was pleased to see the team’s three seniors -- Anderson-Benge, Guise and Tashjian -- go out on a high note in their last home competition, and said the entire team worked together to earn its latest conference title.
“The girls should all be very proud of themselves; the coaching staff is,” she said. “We really liked the way in which they attacked their routines to compete strong and confidently. The team worked very well as a unit encouraging and supporting each other.”