WISCONSIN RAPIDS — A fraction of a point kept Mount Horeb from a team runner-up finish in the WIAA Division 2 state gymnastics meet Friday night at Wisconsin Rapids High School.
The Vikings posted a score of 139.35 to finish third, trailing runner-up River Falls (139.4667) for the second straight year.
As expected, Whitefish Bay (140.7833) rolled to its third team championship in four years.
Jefferson finished sixth (129.25) and Dodgeville/Mineral Point was seventh (128.8667).
Mount Horeb finished four-tenths of a point back of runner-up River Falls a year ago, and the margin was even closer this time. Nevertheless, the Vikings gave fans a dramatic finish in the final rotation with their floor exercise performance.
“It was nice to end on floor so you can get a few of the jitters out earlier and have the crowd cheer you along, too,” Mount Horeb coach Martha Koller Faust said.
The Vikings posted the highest score of the night on the balance beam (36.05), then scored 35.533 on the floor exercise to fall just short of a runner-up finish.
“We scored four points higher than last year, and we got third last year, too,” Koller Faust said. “The difficulty of the routines was higher — everyone really upped their game.
“Our girls hit on every single event, we didn’t have to count any falls and once again it came down to a little over a tenth.”
Junior Krista Taylor, who was the highest-scoring Viking in each event except balance beam, credited the team for coming together and the younger members for performing well on the big stage.
“I thought the younger girls pulled through, and they had a lot of fun doing it, too,” Taylor said.
Taylor will compete today in the individual all-around competition alongside two teammates, junior Sophie Alberts and freshman Elisa Weier.
Other area athletes competing in the individual all-around include River Valley junior Caroline Iausly and Dodgeville/Mineral Point freshmen Miah Lemanski and Tessa Bockhop.
Taylor said she looks to carry her consistent performance from Friday into today: “I’m just trying to repeat the same thing as today, and hoping for the best.”
Middleton’s gymnasts were all smiles after finishing fifth, an improvement of two positions over last year.
“There is no better way we could have ended the season as a team, other than being here and really having an awesome team meet,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said.
The Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall co-op repeated as Division 1 champion, scoring 147.8167 points. Kenosha Bradford/Indian Trail/Tremper/Westosha Central was second (146.8333).
Madison Memorial finished sixth with a score of 134.7833.
Middleton senior captains Dani Aranda and Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn said the Cardinals had a blast in their final team competition of the season.
“Everyone was in such a great mood and we all brought out the best in each other,” said Aranda, who has been nursing a stress fracture for more than two weeks but has competed in all events.
“In the beginning of the season I had some doubts, but I think we all really improved throughout the season, especially the younger girls. They have so much potential.”
With Friday’s focus on team performance, Pflasterer-Jennerjohn said she hadn’t given much thought yet to today’s individual routines.
“I just have to go out there and focus and hopefully I’ll hit all of my events,” she said.
Other area athletes scheduled to compete in the Division 1 all-around competition today are Madison East/La Follette senior Celia Ramsey and junior Tyra Turner and Madison Memorial senior Sam Adler and junior Natalie Donkle.