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Co-op Muskego gymnasts win Madison Invite

Feb. 3, 2014

There's no saying whether or not the Franklin, Muskego, Oak Creek, Whitnall girls gymnastics team will win a fourth straight WIAA State Division 1 title this coming March.

Losing eight seniors like they did after the last championship run last year is an awfully big hurdle to overcome.

But operating in relative anonymity for the first half of the season has allowed the local co-op to re-group and re-build and now it has decided to come out of the shadows with an impressive victory in the eight-school Madison Memorial Invitational on Saturday.

"It's been fun so far," said coach Katie Moore. "After the last three years, we're just trying to do our thing, just looking to put together our best team. It's kind of nice to be free of the expectation (of winning state again). We have almost all new kids. It's a different story, but we're trying to head down the same path."

They are, quite successfully actually.

FMOW turned in a score of 143.65 points in posting its victory in Madison, as the Burlington co-op was well behind with a 141.05 mark.

Individually, the locals were led by the personal best all-around total of 37.875 of Sam Balcerak, which was good for second behind Burlington's defending state all-around champion Bailey Fitzpatrick (38.275).

Balcerak of Muskego, who Moore said had a bit of a "hiccup" with a knee problem earlier this year, had to work hard to get back into the all-around. She was second on the uneven bars (9.55), third on vault (9.65), third on floor exercise (9.475) and fourth on balance beam (9.2).

"She had actually been begging to get back into the all-around," said Moore, "and after today, that was obviously the right decision."

Erin Scholz, also of Muskego, turned in a second on the balance beam (9.375) and a fourth on the vault (9.2). Jerica Kotarak, also of Muskego, turned in a fine eighth-place all-around of 35.175 despite a serious mistake on bars.

Jessica Kossoris of Franklin, the only other returnee despite Balcerak and the only senior in the regular rotation, is nursing a toe problem but still turned in a 9.1 on bars. Moore is hoping by the time she gets healthy, that the team will have four all-arounds ready to go.

"It was an exciting win," said Moore. "We've been adding new things (to our routines) and made some changes in our lineup. We've just been getting to know so many of the new kids and that has been a bit of a process.

"But this win is a big step for us. It's one thing to go out and say you can do these kind of things, but to actually go out and achieve them is really exciting. It'll make the next time easier and the neat thing is, is that we still have a lot of room to grow."

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