Paige Millard followed in her older sister’s chalky, barefoot footprints on Saturday.
The Sun Prairie senior earned the Big Eight Conference all-around gymnastics championship, scoring 36.675 points in the conference meet at Madison Memorial.
The victory helped coach Shannon Maly’s Cardinals come out on top of the eight-team Big Eight field with a team score of 139.2 points. Madison Memorial followed with 137.35 points, and Middleton was third with 136.075.
Paige Millard’s trip to the top of the awards podium came two years after her sister, Abby, won the Big Eight all-around title.
Paige Millard knows there is more work yet to come — now that every gymnast in the state will pull out all the stops, showing off their new skills at next week’s WIAA sectional meets.
“It feels so good to know I did it. I’m just really happy with how it came out,” Millard said. “I did all my new stuff today, because I wanted to get a chance to work on it before sectionals,” Millard said.
Millard scored a solid 9.35 points or better in three of the four individual events. Her low score, an 8.575 on the uneven bars, came when she missed a trick and fell off the bars.
“That’s an automatic half-point deduction, so once she gets that worked out she can be above 9 on that (at the sectional), too,” Maly said.
Millard won the balance beam (9.4) and took second (9.35) in floor exercise and third in vaulting (9.35). Junior teammate Allayah Lane won the floor exercise title (9.45).
Madison East/La Follette senior Celia Ramsey finished second in all-around (36.175). Junior teammate Tyra Turner won vaulting (9.55), followed by Ramsey (9.45).
Only a couple of weeks after returning from an injury, Middleton senior Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn won on uneven bars (9.35) and took third in all-around (36.025).
Madison Memorial’s Natalie Donkle was fourth in all-around (35.825), and Turner finished fifth (35.35).
Sun Prairie’s team score was its best of the season, even though Maly said many of the Cardinals withheld some of their newest skills in favor of one more week of practice before sectionals.
“We changed a few routines to make sure they were clean, and it paid off,” Maly said. “We have some tough competition in our sectional (at Menomonee Falls next Saturday), and that’s what we’ll be working on all week.”
Junior Krista Taylor swept the day, winning all four events and the all-around as Mount Horeb totaled 139.35 points to score a decisive victory in the seven-team Badger Conference meet at Reedsburg.
It was the sixth consecutive Badger Conference title for the Vikings, coach Martha Keller Faust said.
Monona Grove finished second with 130.525 points and Monroe was third with 129.2.
Vikings junior Krista Taylor won the all-around championship, scoring 36.325 points. She won on balance beam (9.1), floor exercise (9.375), uneven bars (9.15) and vaulting (8.7).
Milton junior Ashley Thompson scored 34.475 points to take second in the all-around, followed by three more Mount Horeb competitors: Senior Leah Skalet (34.275), junior Sophie Alberts (34.05) and freshman Elisa Weier (33.45).
Monona Grove was led by sophomore Brianna Edmonston, sixth in all-around (33.3).