The Caledonia/Houston/Spring Grove gymnastics team set a new season-high score and in the process tallied more points than three of the teams in the Division 1 field when they won the Division 2 competition at the McLellan Invitational at Holmen Saturday with 126.075 team points.
The score not only breaks their previous season high by nearly four full points, it was also higher than Reedsburg/Weston (122.05), Viroqua (119.7) and La Crosse Central/Logan (119.125), all D1 schools in the 13 total team invite that has become one of the premier high school invitationals in Wisconsin.
Besides the varsity making a statement, the junior varsity also performed well, missing out on a first place effort of their own by just 3.15 points. Tomah won the jv tournament with 96.25 points, while the Warriors tallied 93.10. Head coach Jackie Johnson was thrilled with the day, saying, “The varsity and jv put it all together with varsity taking home first place with a team score of 126.075 – a high for the season – and the jv just coming up short by 3.15 for a second place finish with 93.1 points.”
And to make the day even better, the team dominated the balance beam when four of the top five spots were taken by C/H/SG gymnasts. Throughout the season the beam has been the weakness for the Warriors, but on Saturday four freshmen dominated the event winning with 33.175 points – over seven points ahead of Tomah. Tara Solberg uncorked an 8.925 and Kaylee Cavanaugh followed with an 8.725.
“Tara and Kaylee pulled of no-fall routines, and Solberg had the best routine of the season,” Johnson said. “She works so hard on this event and it was great to see her have a routine with not even a balance check. It just all came together for her. She had her highest score of the year – it was pretty exciting.”
Arcadia junior Brandi Bjorge placed third on the beam, but Emily Hahn and Sierra Hunter rounded out the top five as Hahn scored 7.900 and Hunter added a 7.625. C/H/SG also won the floor exercise as a team with 29.4 points. Johnson said, “We didn’t have the best routines, scoring lower on this event than normal, but they managed to keep their heads in the meet. On the next event (vault) they scored 33.3 and made up the points.”
Hunter placed third in the floor with an 8.125 and Cavanaugh placed fifth (7.625). On the vault Bjorge, who won the all-around with 33.075 points, won the vault at 8.55, while Solberg (8.50) and Hunter (8.35) placed second and third with Cavanaugh placing fifth with an 8.5.
The Warriors clean sweep of all four events also saw them win the uneven bars at 30.20 while Tomah again placed second with 26.650 points. Johnson said, “The bars went well for us.” Cavanaugh and Hunter placed 1-2 with Cavanaugh carding an 8.2 and Hunter adding a score of 8.175. Solberg placed seventh and Skylar Schoh placed 10th.
Cavanaugh just missed the all-around title, scoring 32.85 points, but Bjorge tallied 33.075 to take top honors. Hunter (32.275) and Solberg (31.80) placed third and fourth in the all-around competition.
The junior varsity squad also turned in a strong effort and was led by Erin Schultz, who won the all-around at 25.00 points. Schultz placed second on the bars and third on the balance beam. Teammate Salome Hagetstein won the bars with a 5.8, and Emily Hahn was third. Cayla Schleich scored a 6.9 to place second on the beam. Schultz and Becca Roble placed 13th and 14th on the floor exercise, and Hahn placed fifth on the vault at 7.450. “It is so nice to see the jv improving and seeing all the hard work pay off for them,” Johnson said. “Assistant coach Dani Sauer and I were pretty excited to travel to Holmen as we felt the girls had a great chance of winning, and they did just that.”
At the end of the day the team walked away with a total of 21 medals, 14 for the varsity and seven for the junior varsity. “We could not have asked for a better day,” the coach said. Up next was a meet at La Crescent Jan. 15 followed by a trip to Pine Island Jan. 18.
– Brady Ambrose
At Holmen High School
Team Scores: Holmen 136.475, Chippewa Falls 129.5, Onalaska 128.9, Westby/Bangor 127.65, Reedsburg/Weston 122.05, Viroqua 119.7, Central/Logan 119.125.
Team Scores: Caledonia/H/SG 126.075, Tomah 113.3, SWCC 110.525, Sauk Prairie 109.225, Baraboo 108.7, Arcadia 107.125.