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The Baraboo prep gymnastics team took its first spin of the season on Monday night.

The Thunderbirds came away encouraged despite a 127.025-124.5 Badger Conference loss to visiting Milton.

“It was a great first meet. We saw a lot of promise,” said first-year Baraboo coach Ericka Pape, who took over for Tammy Porter this fall. “The kids seemed happy and energized through the whole thing. I think they had a really good time.”

The teams split the events on the night, as Baraboo won the vault and the floor exercise while Milton claimed the uneven bars and the balance beam.

The T-Birds opened the night on the vault and put up numbers right away. All five of Baraboo’s varsity performers scored at least an 8.15 as the T-Birds tallied a four-person team score of 32.925 — their highest of the night.

Brittany Reuter scored a team-high 8.3 on the vault, while Meghan Reuter scored a 8.225, Jamie Runnels and Bella Vedro each had an 8.2 and Mia Burkhalter had an 8.15.

The T-Birds fell off the pace in the middle of the meet, as Baraboo scored a 28.4 on the uneven bars and a 30.35 on the balance beam. Meanwhile, Milton scored a 29.4 on the bars, a 32.4 on the vault and a 31.725 on the floor to open up a 93.525-91.675 advantage.

Baraboo closed strong with a 32.825 on the floor exercise, but Milton held on thanks to a 33.5 on the beam.

Baraboo’s highest individual score of the night came on the beam, as Vedro notched an 8.45. Brittany Reuter added an 8.3, while Runnels had an 8.225, Meghan Reuter tallied a 7.85 and Burkhalter had a 7.6.

Runnels, a co-captain along with Burkhalter, also led the T-Birds on the balance beam (8.2) and the uneven bars (7.65). Those numbers were good for a second-place finish in the all-around competition. Runnels used a total score of 32.275 to finish as the runner-up to Milton’s Lindsey Heitsman (33.05), who had an 8.5 on the floor and the beam to go along with an 8.3 on the vault and a 7.75 on the bars. Milton’s Caroline Burki (31.8) took third in the all-around, while Burkhalter placed fourth with a 30.6.

“Our captains kind of led the way,” Baraboo assistant coach Teri Creighton said of Runnels and Burkhalter. “They definitely provided some leadership. ... The first meet’s always tough with everybody getting back into the groove, but they were great. ... I think we like competing.”

Baraboo suffered a 133.95-119.405 loss at Milton in the 2017-18 season opener.

Baraboo finished just below Milton at the 2018 Badger Conference meet, as the T-Birds and Red Hawks finished fourth and fifth, while Watertown won the title. Baraboo finished one spot shy of reaching the WIAA Division 2 state meet in 2017 and 2018.

Baraboo will host a 10-team invitational at the high school on Saturday. The T-Birds finished fourth at the invite last season, trailing the West Salem co-op, Waunakee/DeForest and Dodgeville/Mineral Point.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

Capital Newspapers Regional Sports Reporter