The Baraboo gymnastics team is pulling out all the stops at the right time.
The Thunderbirds, who have only two meets left before the postseason, returned two key gymnasts on Tuesday when they hosted Monona Grove. While the return of freshman Meghan Reuter on varsity and freshman Mia Burkhalter on JV improved Baraboo’s overall score, the T-Birds fell just a few points shy in a 126.4-122.45 loss.
“Honestly, it was a really good meet,” head coach Tammy Porter said. “We could have done without two falls a person on beam and the falls on floor, but overall they’re getting stronger, they’re getting better, and they’re more confident which is helping. Our Cinderella story right now is Mia coming back. She wasn’t actually scheduled to be back and fully cleared until the end of March. And so she’s been in the gym, she’s been working really hard and has been actually swinging on the bars again. Tonight was her first beam routine and it was awesome, she nailed it. It was a 7.7 and she is missing significant requirements right now so it was very watered down.”
Baraboo kicked off the night on the vault, where the Thunderbirds saw several high scores. The T-Birds recorded a total score of 32.8 on the event, with sophomore Jamie Runnels leading the squad with a second place finish (8.5). Freshmen Bella Vedro and Brittany Reuter took fourth and fifth with scores of 8.4 and 8.2, respectively. Tritsten Klitzke and Sidney Seymour added scores of 7.7 and 7.55.
“Our vaults were much better today but we’ve been trying to focus on them,” Porter said. “We’ve been trying to up the difficulty but cleaning them up and making them more powerful is helping.”
Next up were the uneven bars, where Brittany Reuter came away with a first place finish after putting together a score of 7.65. Monona Grove took the next four spots before Runnels took fifth (6.95) and Vedro took seventh (6.6). Baraboo recorded a team score of 27.75 in the event.
On the balance beam, Baraboo nearly edged the Silver Eagles, falling 29.9-29.4 in the event. Runnels led the team with a third place finish (7.6) followed by Meghan Reuter (7.3). Vedro took fifth (7.25) while Chloe Feld took sixth (7.25). Porter is confident the scores will go up a full point if her gymnasts avoid the falls which were abundant on Tuesday.
On the floor, Baraboo was edged 33.575-32.5. Vedro rounded out the night with an 8.25 to earn third while Feld took fourth (8.15). Brittany Reuter recorded an 8.1 while Runnels added an 8.0. Meghan Reuter meanwhile, recorded a 7.95 in her return in the event.
“I think she needs that motivation right now, and I think on Thursday we’re going to see a totally different athlete out of her,” said Porter on Meghan Reuter.
It was the final home event of the season for the T-Birds, who honored parents along with the lone senior Chloe Feld.
“Overall she had a really good night,” said Porter on Feld. “We tweaked her beam routine so her score would go up and then despite the two falls I think we’re on the right track so I think it’s going to be a good change for her. Floor was really good, it was wild in place so it didn’t help her score but last week she was able to find the eights and now she’s continuing to.”
Baraboo will travel to Platteville on Saturday for an invitational before traveling to Reedsburg on Feb. 18 to end the regular season. Porter said her team will work on making fewer mistakes in the final weeks.
“A little bit of upgrading here and there, cleaning things up, finding some consistency and hopefully hitting when it counts.”