"Three-peat" at state within FMOW gymnasts' grasp
Burlington edges locals at sectionals
The die has been cast one last time for the seniors of the Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek and Whitnall girls gymnastics team as they prepare to try for that rarely achieved "three-peat" in the WIAA state meet this weekend in Wisconsin Rapids.
The two-time state champs took second in the Feb. 21 WIAA sectional at Waukesha West to their rivals, the Burlington co-op, but coach Katie Moore is confident that the senior-dominated squad can make up the gap.
"We had a solid performance at sectionals," Moore said. "Burlington remains our biggest challenge. Our second-place finish was not shocking to anyone on the team. We have respected Burlington all season and we know they have the talent it takes to challenge for the state title. We will have to be razor-sharp to defend our title. This team is up to the challenge."
FMOW has beaten Burlington for the title the last two seasons. The local co-op will get a great warmup for Saturday's 11 a.m. team championships in Wisconsin Rapids, when the individual event titles will be crowned, starting at 5:40 p.m. Friday.
The local co-op qualified multiple individuals in all events save vault and all-around.
Senior Sammie Olson will defend her crown on balance beam and will be joined by fellow senior Lauren Zurowski and junior Jessica Kossoris on the event. On floor exercise, Zurowski and senior Shannon Hein will vie for state honors, while on uneven bars, Olson and senior Paige Schreiber will do the same.
Olson will represent the local co-op in the all-around.
"We actually could have probably qualified a few more girls into the individual all-around competition, but our team is so deep they didn't compete on all four events," Moore said. "Which didn't bother any of them one bit. ... They have one focus: The team state title. Many of these girls have the talent it takes to chase the individual titles, but the team title remains our No. 1 priority."
At the sectional, the Burlington co-op scored 149.3 points for the title while FMOW turned in a mark of 148.65. Olson turned in the only individual victory with a 9.375 on beam, while Zurowski and Hein turned in spectacular routines in tieing for second on floor with 9.575 marks, each.
Olson also had an excellent mark of 9.425 in taking third on bars, and she was one of an amazing four athletes to turn in scores above 37 in the all-around, with a fourth-place effort of 37.125.
Freshman Sam Balcerak was victimized by the deep excellence of the sectional, as she narrowly missed out on a state berth by one spot in the vault despite an excellent score of 9.4. She had the same thing occur on bars, as she was sixth with a 9.325.
Moore praised the efforts of Balcerak, Hein, Schreiber and Zurowski but saved her highest accolades for Olson.
"Sammie had a great day," she said. "She won the beam so she is feeling confident going into state."
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