MOUNT HOREB — Krista Taylor set the crutches on the mat and lifted herself onto the top step of the awards podium.
There, the Mount Horeb senior — medals dangling from her neck — assumed a modified version of “The Karate Kid” crane stance. She kept her right leg off the ground, making certain no weight was placed on her injured and heavily wrapped knee.
Despite pain and some sheepishness, Taylor made the trip to the appropriate step of the podium each time after winning the Red Division all-around title and also finishing first on the balance beam and uneven bars, second in vaulting and fourth on the floor exercise Saturday at the 32nd annual Mount Horeb Viking Invitational gymnastics meet.
Taylor led the host Vikings to the seven-team Red Division title with 134.575 points, ahead of runner-up Dodgeville/Mineral Point (129.150) and Jefferson (125.075).
“I had mixed emotions,” Taylor said. “I wanted to be (at the awards ceremony), because it’s fun to have the team cheer for you. But it was a little embarrassing because of the crutches. But I’m still happy.”
Taylor said she hyperextended her knee when she landed straight-legged during her final tumbling pass in her final event, the floor exercise. She finished up and, despite receiving an 8.95 score on the floor, wound up defending her all-around title.
Taylor finished with 35.825 points, just ahead of Dodgeville/Mineral Point sophomore Miah Lemanski (35.725). River Valley senior Caroline Iausley (34.325) was third. Lemanski was first in vaulting (9.15) and finished second in the other three events. Iausley won the floor exercise (9.325).
Taylor, who won the balance beam (8.95) and the uneven bars (9.075), said she was disappointed the floor routine kept her from having a stronger meet.
“My first three events were better than they have been,” said Taylor, who plans to attend the University of Wisconsin.
Taylor said she will see a doctor Monday to learn the severity of her injury and how long she will be out.
“We have been working through some injuries and trying to figure out the top five in each event,” Vikings coach Martha Koller Faust said. “We just need to get a little more consistent with our routines. It’s still early. … We don’t want to be peaking too soon.”
Whitefish Bay, which has won the past two WIAA Division 2 state titles, piled up 137.775 points and claimed the seven-team White Division, featuring the larger-sized schools. Three-time defending Big Eight Conference champion Sun Prairie, led by senior Allayah Lane’s first place on floor (personal-best 9.65), was second (132.825). Junior Karina Sabol was first on the balance beam (8.925) for Middleton, third with 131.275 points.
“I’m happy with how we did,” Sun Prairie coach Shannon Maly said. “We didn’t come in here intent on winning. We wanted to try some new skills after the Christmas break and see how we would do. This group of girls is really talented and has great heart for gymnastics. They have been pushing each other really well.”
Senior Tyra Turner of United Gymnastics, a team from Madison East and Madison La Follette, earned the vaulting title (9.50) and was third on the uneven bars (8.70) en route to a runner-up finish in the all-around. Whitefish Bay freshman Addie Gallun won the uneven bars (9.275) and the all-around (35.150), edging Turner (35.125).
“I am super happy with my vault,” Turner said. “Everything went smoothly except the balance beam and I missed on my last pass on the floor. I was happy with how I did. I still have things I want to add. I just want to get better.”
Turner, who also competes in volleyball, softball and track and field for La Follette, said she has been accepted at UW and hopes to join as a softball walk-on.