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Gymnasts overcome scary start

Despite missing two key starters, the Wildcat gymnastics team still managed to stay undefeated in Big Rivers Conference duals with a 133.75 to 130.95 victory over Rice Lake Thursday, Jan. 25, in Rice Lake.

With junior Natalie Swick already out of the lineup, classmate Kassidy Snell took a scary fall in the Cats' first event of the night on the uneven bars and missed the rest of the meet. Freshman Eva Mikla stepped in for the last three events, posting a third place score in the floor exercise, to help the Cats to the win.

Senior Sam Krueger won two individual events and the all-around title while freshman Autumn Tiede used strong efforts on the floor, the vault and the balance beam to take third in the all-around.

"Sam Krueger showed great leadership in rallying the team after the rough start," head coach Lauren Kaminski said. "They did a good job maintaining their composure on the remaining three events."

Krueger took first in the vault with a score of 9.3 and first in the floor exercise with 9.6. She placed second on the balance beam with 9.075 and third on the uneven bars with 7.7 to win the all-around with a total of 35.675.

Tiede placed second in the floor exercise with an 8.8 and took third in the vault with 8.55 and third on the beam with 8.45 on her way to a third place score of 33.45 in the all-around.

Junior Cat Stewart edged Krueger for second place on bars with a score of 8.175, while Mikla was third in the floor exercise with 8.45.

Kaminski said the Wildcats only hit three of their 10 beam routines between the varsity and JV competition but pointed to Tiede's third place score as a highlight.

"We were grateful to pull off a victory, but we still have yet to hit our stride this season," Kaminski said. "I have confidence that we'll get there, but we just have two regular season meets remaining.

The Cats will compete at the G-E-T Invitational in Galesville Saturday, Feb. 3, and wrap up the regular season with a dual meet at Chippewa Falls Thursday, Feb. 8, before hosting the BRC Championship Meet Friday, Feb. 16, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Meyer Middle School.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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