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Higher and higher

Wildcat senior Carly Jerry launches herself off the vault on her way to a score of 8.85 in the River Falls gymnastics team's victory over Red Wing (Minn.) Thursday night at Meyer Middle School. The Cats went on to take first place at the Chippewa Falls Invitational two days later. Bob Burrows photo

After posting its highest season-opening score ever two weeks ago, the Wildcat gymnastics team raised the bar even higher in a pair of meets last week.

River Falls opened the season with a team score of 137.475 to win the Wisconsin Rapids Invitational Dec. 5. Thursday night it upped the total to 139.0 to defeat Red Wing, Minn., by nearly five full points in a nonconference dual meet at Meyer Middle School.

Two days later, the team improved to 142.85 on its way to taking first place at the eight-team Chippewa Falls Invitational.

Coach Brian Whipple said the enthusiasm of the gymnasts has been contagious.

"It's been nice to hear all the cheering for the team for their teammates both Thursday and Saturday," he said.

Saturday at the Chi-Hi Invite, Kali Kramolis, Carly Jerry and Page Skorseth swept the top three spots in the all-around and six different Wildcats scored points to lead the Cats to the team title.

Kramolis took the all-around title with a score of 36.45 while Jerry was second with 35.075 and Skorseth third with 34.725.

The Cats took three of the top four spots in all four individual events, including the top four spots on the balance beam.

Kramolis took first on the beam with a score of 9.125, Jerry was second with 9.1, Amanda Guise third with 8.975 and Lauren Gutting fourth with 8.825.

Kramolis won the uneven bars with a score of 9.0 while Sierra Becker was second with 8.6 and Ruth Anderson-Benge third with 8.45. Skorseth added a fifth place score of 8.375.

In the floor exercise, Jerry was first with 9.425, Kramolis took second with 9.3, Skorseth third with 9.15 and Becket fifth with 8.9.

The Cats didn't get a first place score in the vault but took second through fourth to boost their team standing. Becker was second with a 9.05, Kramolis third with 9.025 and Jerry fourth with 8.85.

The closest team to River Falls' top score of 142.85 was Hudson with 131.23.

Two nights earlier in the home opener against Red Wing, the Cats swept the top five spots in all four individual events and the top three spots in the all-around on their way to a 139.0 to 125.05 victory over the Wingers.

Jerry was first in the all-around with a score of 35.1 while Kramolis was second with 34.775 and Skorseth third with 34.225.

Jerry won the beam (9.0) and floor (8.95) and Kramolis won the bars (8.575) while Becker took first in the vault (9.25).

In JV competition Thursday, sophomore Jess O'Malley set a new JV school record in the vault with a score of 9.1, breaking the mark of 8.75 she set last year.

After returning to Chippewa Falls for a BRC dual Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Cats are off until Tuesday, Jan. 12, when they host Eau Claire Memorial/North.