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Watertown 133.050, Sauk Prairie 116.275

Despite a loss, the young Sauk Prairie gymnastics team left the first meet of the season encouraged about the year.

The Eagles suffered a 133.050-116.275 season-opening home loss to Watertown on Dec. 5 at Grand Avenue Elementary School, but they got a good look at where they stand at this point of the year.

“Although Watertown came out on top, I was very pleased with the performances of the Sauk Prairie gymnasts,” Sauk Prairie coach Justine Anderson said. “We have 27 girls this year, and 19 of them are completely new to the team, so there were a lot of nerves last night, but they handled it well. ... It was fun to watch as all of the girls learned how to control nerves and excitement at the first home meet of the year.”

Watertown swept the all-around competition, as Katie Curtis finished first with a score of 35.45, followed by Morgan Ellsworth (33.45), Jenna Holland (31.95) and Claire Vitale (31.9). Curtis won the vault (9.2), uneven bars (8.65) and floor exercise (9.45) for the Goslings.

Audrey Pape put together an all-around score of 31.15 to lead Sauk Prairie, while Heidi Kuhnau added a 28.75 and Madison Marshall finished with a 28.7.

Pape led the Eagles in the vault with a personal-best score of 8.25, while also pacing Sauk Prairie with a 7.45 on the uneven bars. The junior added a 7.2 on the balance beam and an 8.25 in the floor exercise.

Marshall notched Sauk Prairie’s best individual finish. The junior tallied a 7.6 on the balance beam to place third overall behind Watertown’s Morgan Ellsworth (8.7) and Katie Curtis (8.15).

Pape (8.25), Kuhnau (8.15) and Marshall (8.05) all reached the eight-point mark in the vault. Kuhnau, a freshman, finished with a team-high score of 8.5 in the floor exercise.

“Our varsity team has a couple of freshmen that are already excelling, which will only motivate some of the veterans to improve as well, so this is an exciting season for us,” Anderson said of Sauk Prairie’s 13 freshmen. “What this young team is lacking in experience, they certainly make up for in motivation, so these freshmen are ones to watch out for in the future.”

Those new faces have the Eagles right on pace to have a competitive season.

“Although we lost quite a few seniors last year, all of our team event scores are very close with where we left off last, with the exception of bars, which is more difficult for us this year,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of girls very close to new bar skills, so I can only hope that continues to increase our score as the season continues and we are able to keep building our scores.”

Baraboo Invitational

Sauk Prairie opened the invitational season in Baraboo on Saturday.

The Eagles tallied a team score of 115.95 to place fifth out of nine teams at the Baraboo Invitational. The West Salem co-op won the title with a score of 135.775, while Waunakee/DeForest (131.8), Dodgeville/Mineral Point (131.2) and Baraboo (126.2) also finished ahead of Sauk Prairie.

“They were very solid on the beam, which is a great recovery from the last meet, but had a few hiccups on vault,” Anderson said. “It was also the first time that they have been on different equipment this season, so it was a great learning experience for all of them.”

Marshall and sophomore Addison Desroches each reached the podium for the Eagles, as Marshall had a personal-best 8.35 on the vault and Desroches had a personal-best 8.25 on the balance beam.

Kuhnau set personal bests on the balance beam (7.9) and the uneven bars (5.5), while freshman Carina Meixelsperger had a personal record with a 7.25 on the balance beam.

“It was the first invitational meet for both freshmen Heidi and Carina, which can be very overwhelming, but they both had great meets,” Anderson said.

Sauk Prairie will host Dodgeville/Mineral Point and River Valley in a triangular on Tuesday before visiting Mount Horeb on Friday for a dual.

BARABOO INVITATIONAL

Team scores: West Salem co-op 135.775, Waunakee/DeForest 131.8, Dodgeville/Mineral Point 131.2, Baraboo 126.2, Sauk Prairie 115.95, River Valley 115.25, Markesan 107.05, Reedsburg 106.775, Tomah 100.775.

Top three individuals: Balance beam — Caroline Iausley, RV, 8.55; Tailyn Keller, WD, 8.525; Caylee Powers, WD, 8.525. Floor exercise — Iausley, RV, 9.35; Sydney Hames, WS, 9.325; Miah Lemanski, DMP, 9.125. Uneven bars — Ellie Tschumper, WS, 9.45; Caylee Powers, WD, 8.8; Tessa Bockhop, DMP, 8.6. Vault — Miah Lemanski, DMP, 9.1; Iausley, RV, 9.95; Powers, WD, 8.55. All-around — Iausley, RV, 34.95; Lemanski, DMP, 34.775; Hammes, WS, 34.3.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

Capital Newspapers Regional Sports Reporter