Gymnasts finish second in WIAC

After finishing the regular season undefeated, the  gymnastics team earned a second place finish Saturday at the WIAC Championships.

Last year, the Warhawks won the WIAC Championship, defeating powerhouse and defending national champions UW-La Crosse. In Eau Claire on Saturday, however, the Eagles took back the WIAC title, edging the ’Hawks in a 187.7-185.5 victory.

The ’Hawks best all-around performance came from junior Katie Thompson, who took third place with a total score of 37.5 points. Thompson’s strongest event on Saturday was the uneven parallel bars. Her score of 9.625 was second overall.

“Katie has been a rock for us all year,” sophomore Kaitlyn Weber said. “Taking third overall is kind of a big deal.”

Weber, Thompson and junior Mary Kate Young were the only three ’Hawks to perform in all four events. Young’s score of 36.825 and Weber’s score of 35.475 were seventh and tenth overall, respectively.

Sophomore Allyse Dieringer placed first in the balance beam by posting a 9.6, the 18th best beam score in team history.

Dieringer’s win was the ’Hawks’ only first place performance of the day.

Dieringer was coming off of a shoulder injury that had limited her performance in the last couple of meets. Weber said seeing her perform so well on the balance beam was very encouraging and provided a boost of confidence for the team.

The ’Hawks beat the Eagles earlier this season, so Weber said the team’s confidence should not be affected by the second place finish on Saturday.

“We felt like we performed well, and both us and UW-La Crosse performed way better than during the season,” Weber said.

Last year, the ’Hawks took second at nationals, so this year Weber said the team’s goal is a national championship.

“We definitely want to win this year, but if we perform to our potential and get second, I don’t think we will be disappointed,” Weber said.

Now the team has 20 days to prepare for the NCGA Championship meet. The ’Hawks will travel to Brockport, N.Y., to compete at nationals March 23-24.
Weber said the focus of the team’s practices over the next couple weeks will be cleaning up their performances rather than learning new skills.

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