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Wildcats gymnasts back on track

Wildcat sophomore Michael Kramolis competes in the vault at the G-E-T Gymnastics Invitational in Galesville Saturday, Feb. 3. Kramolis was one of three Wildcats to finish in the top seven in the event and help the Wildcats earn the team title. Photo courtesy of Lauren Kaminski

Now that's how Wildcat gymnastics coach Lauren Kaminski wanted to see her team perform in the last invitational of the season.

The Cats posted a season-high score of 139.9 to win the six-team G-E-T Invitational Saturday, Feb. 3, in Galesville. They can wrap up the regular season Big Rivers Conference title this Thursday, Feb. 8, in Chippewa Falls before hosting the BRC Championship Meet Friday, Feb. 16.

After barely cracking the 133-point mark in their previous meet Jan. 25 in Superior, Kaminski said it was great to get back on track, score wise, Saturday in Galesville.

"The girls were more focused and kept up good team energy throughout the meet," she said. "I think they surprised themselves with the team score and they were excited about hitting that mark, but they all felt they still had more to give. It seems that this meet has sparked them to keep pushing for more and made them more aware of what they're capable of."

Senior Sam Krueger placed first in every event except the uneven bars, where she added a new skill to add difficulty to her routine.

"It's nice to see a gymnast at her level keep challenging herself," Kaminski said.

Krueger took the all-around title with a total score of 37.3 and was joined by two other Wildcats on the awards podium—freshman Autumn Tiede with a fifth place score of 34.85 and freshman Isabel Seyffer with a seventh place score of 33.2

Kaminski said it was Tiede's first time competing in the all-around after recently moving into the Cats' rotation on the uneven bars. Tiede placed second on bars and was in the top five in every event except the balance beam.

"She had an excellent routine on bars and a great day overall," Kaminski said.

Sophomore Michaela Kramolis took seventh in the vault to join Krueger and Tiede on the awards stand and freshman Madison Berg gave the Cats three of the top six finishes on bars while Seyffer and junior Cat Stewart finished sixth and eighth, respectively on the balance beam. Junior Natalie Swick placed fourth in the floor exercise while freshman Eva Mikla, filling in for injured junior Kassidy Snell, was fifth.

"Eva Mikla competed varsity floor again in Kassidy Snell's absence and did an excellent job, performing a clean routine and earning an 8.9," Kaminski noted.

The Wildcat junior varsity also took first in its competition and helped the Cats complete a rare sweep of the all-around titles with Krueger winning the varsity, Josie Nelson winning the JV, and Kramolis taking the varsity/JV combined.

"That's something unique that this meet awards," Kaminski said about the combined title.

Krueger said the team just went out and had fun and it was reflected in their score.

"I think the team came together today and competed really well," she said. "We had a lot of fun and kept the energy really high but still focused in and showed it off."

Next week's BRC Championship meet gets underway at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16, 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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