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Blue Dukes set pace for North Shore gymnastics squads

March 4, 2009

Whitefish Bay

Blue Duke coach Mary Liniewski knows the coaches at River Falls and not to doubt the veracity of the all-division state-best score of 146.45 the Falcons tallied in WIAA sectional competition Feb. 28.

Liniewski knows that mark makes the chances of a Division 2 state title for her Blue Dukes in the team competition Saturday, March 7, at the Wisconsin Rapids Fieldhouse slimmer, but she also knows her team is not going to back down from a fight.

"I believe that we have a 145 in us," Liniewski said after her squad dominated the Division 2 sectional it hosted Feb. 27. "Believe me, the girls are thrilled. Our chances of getting to that mark (145) will be tough, but we're looking to get on the podium, so we'll give it a shot."

Liniewski, whose team was third last season, has high hopes for senior Hannah Wallace in the all-around. Wallace was fourth in the all-around last season and second on floor exercise. The individual competition will be at 5:40 p.m. Friday, March 6.

"I'm a perfectionist," Wallace said. "I try to pay attention to all the little things and make sure to add grace and elegance to the routine."

Wallace did just that as she dominated the all-around with a 37.4 total. Teammates Maggie Anderson (36.7) and Kelly Danek (34.325) were close behind in second and third. Wallace won all the individual events: beam (9.4), vault (9.15), bars (9.125) and floor exercise (9.725).

"I was actually arguing for a 9.8 for her," Liniewski. "The (the judges) had to look hard for things (to deduct)."

Bay swept all the individual qualifying spots at the sectional in the bars and vault and took four of five spots on beam and floor. Anderson was second in all four individual events and other multiple individual qualifiers included Nova Lu, Danek and Tory Patek. Anna Syburg and Margaret Fitzpatrick took one state spot each as Bay turned in a 143.55 winning total.

"We're going to relish the challenge," Liniewski said. "We'll train hard and try to rise to a new level."

Shorewood

The Greyhounds did not have anyone place at the Whitefish Bay Sectional on Feb. 27, but they did have some personal-bests.

"It was a great way to end our season." coach Sarah Paul said. "I am so proud of how far my girls have come. We had so many obstacles in our way this season which could have hindered our team moral."

Hannah Fergal had two, including a 7.225 on floor and an 8.05 on vault. Melida Holstein had the other, a 7.225 on floor.

Shorewood lose seniors Ali Pech, Cedes Leon and Marah Sutherland, as well as foreign exchange student Onna Degerman, who will return to Finland.

- Steven L. Tietz

and Tom "Sky" Skibosh,

Staff Writers

Nicolet

Narrowly missing out on a state team berth a year ago motivated the Knights in the Division 1 sectional at Arrowhead on Feb. 28. The high-powered squad made up for lost time with a runner-up showing that earned them a coveted state spot.

"We got off to a great start on vault and that set the pace for the rest of the day," Nicolet coach Christine Dempsey said.

The Knights will be among the top four seeded teams when the team competition begins at noon Saturday, March 7, in the Wisconsin Rapids Fieldhouse. The individual competition featuring Leah Fischer in the all-around and floor exercise and Beth Huang on bars will begin at 5:40 p.m. Friday, March 6.

It is the 16th trip to team state for Nicolet.

"If our score goes up we'll be happy. If it stays the same we'll be happy," Dempsey said. "We're just going to go out there and try to have some fun."

Nicolet posted a 141.78 as the host Warhawks won the nine-school sectional with a 143.98. Fischer was fourth in the all-around with a 35.9 and fourth in floor exercise (9.535). Huang was fourth on bars (9.025).

Fischer and Lexi Stevens narrowly missed out on berths on beam tying for sixth with 8.9 apiece.

Homestead

Sometimes you have to argue for what is right.

And because Homestead coach Melissa Marsack successfully made her point that Katelyn Wright had earned the bonus that she had been getting all season on her balance beam routine, Wright earned a berth to the state meet in both the all-around as well as in the floor routine from the sectional meet at Arrowhead on Feb. 28.

"She normally gets two bonuses in her (beam) routine," Marsack said. "She had fallen because we had made a couple of adjustments in order to try and maximize her skill, but we still felt the score was low. It turned out she had gotten the first bonus but not the second. We made our point (to the judges) and we did get the additional bonus."

Wright, who will be joined at state by teammate Cori Sandusky on the uneven bars, is making a repeat trip to state.

The qualifying berths were part of a fourth-place, season-best team total of 137.25.

By adding in the final .2 of a bonus on the beam, Wright picked up the fifth and final state qualifying all-around spot with a 35.825 score. She earned her slot on floor with a runner-up mark of 9.6. Sandusky was second on the bars with a 9.375 mark.

- Steven L. Tietz,

Staff Writer

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