The Baraboo gymnastics team capped off the dual meet season with a close loss to Badger North Conference rival Sauk Prairie on Thursday.

The shorthanded T-Birds finished with a team score of 123.4, while the host Eagles finished with a 126.175.

“Overall we did really, really well,” Baraboo head coach Tammy Porter said. “They definitely rallied together as a group and did what they needed to do. I’m proud of them.”

Baraboo competed without one of its top gymnasts in Jamie Runnels, who was being rested in order to be at full strength as the season winds down.

“She hurt her knee on Tuesday and we just made the executive decision to pull her tonight, because I’d rather have her for the big meets,” Porter said. “So the fact that the girls came up, as far as the team score goes, without her ... they did really, really well today.”

The T-Birds all stepped up their performance in Runnels’ absence. Brittany Reuter led the charge, finishing first in the all-around with a 32.45. The freshman finished first on the uneven bars (59.30), while tying for second in the floor exercise (8.75).

“Brittany’s bar score was phenomenal today,” Porter said. “Her bar set was beautiful, she hasn’t been able to hit it in weeks, so she really hit it today. And we could even make changes to it to up the value.”

Bella Vedro was Baraboo’s second-best all-around performer, taking fourth with a 31.65. The freshman tied for first on the vault (8.25), while also claiming a first-place finish in the floor exercise (8.75).

“Bella Vedro’s floor score was up at least six-tenths,” Porter said.

Freshman Mia Burkhalter, who has competed on junior varsity much of the season, gave the T-Birds a boost by tying for first on the balance beam (30.55).

“I chose to put Mia Burkhalter on varsity today and she stepped it up with a first-place finish in the varsity, so she definitely did her job,” Porter said.

Overall, Baraboo showed improvement on the balance beam, putting together a team score of 26.95.

“Our beam set was much better today, still mistakes, but much more solid,” Porter said.

Tristen Klitzke also placed for the T-Birds, placing third in the vault (8.2). Klitzke finished sixth in the all-around, while teammate Chloe Field finished seventh.

The Eagles and T-Birds will both compete in a 10-team invitational in Platteville on Saturday. That meet will serve as the final preparation for the Badger Conference meet in Reedsburg on Saturday, Feb. 18.

“Conference is always a tough one for us, the Badger Conference is tough,” Porter said. “We’ll have to get some more difficulty in, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because that creates mistakes. We’ll work on cleaning some stuff up. ... We do have mistakes that just can’t happen this late in the season.”

Once conference is over, the T-Birds are looking to continue their season as long as possible.

“We’re still shooting for team state, because I know they can do it,” Porter said.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

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