THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 53rd Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association State Gymnastics Championships will take place Friday-Saturday, March 3-4 at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. The team championships in Divisions 1 and 2 will begin at noon. The individual championships will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.
TICKET INFORMATION: Ticket prices for the State Gymnastics Championships are $9 per day plus online fees, and they are available to be purchased on-line on the WIAA website through GoFan, the WIAA ticketing partner, at: https://gofan.co/app/school/WIAA2?activity=Gymnastics.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED: Ten teams will compete for the Division 1 and Division 2 team titles. The top two teams from each of the five sectionals in each division qualify for the meet. The top five individuals in each event and the top five all-arounds at each sectional qualify for the State individual championships.
TEAM SCORING: Team scores are compiled by adding the sum of the four best individual scores in each of the four events in the team competition
CHAMPIONSHIPS STREAMED LIVE: All events of the State Gymnastics Championships will be streamed live and can be viewed with a subscription to the NFHS Network. To purchase a subscription to the live programming for only $11.99 per month, log-on to www.wiaa.tv or www.nfhsnetwork.com and click on the subscription button in the header of the page. Archived streams of the sessions will be available on demand on www.nfhsnetwork.com 72 hours after the tournament.
COMPETING TEAMS: The 10 teams that will be competing for the team State championship in Division 1, with the number of times the programs have qualified for the team competition in parentheses, are Arrowhead (17), Chippewa Falls/McDonell Catholic (1), Franklin/Muskego (2), Hartford (6), Homestead (25), Hudson (8), Janesville Craig (3), Menomonee Falls/Germantown (4) Sun Prairie East/West (1) and Verona/Edgewood (11). The 10 teams competing in Division 2 are Ashland/Drummond/Mellen (2), Elkhorn (9), Medford/Colby (2), Mount Horeb (36), Nicolet (22), Platteville/Belmont/Lancaster (10), Reedsburg (7), River Falls (32), West Bend West (7) and West Salem/Aquinas/Bangor (5). There were 83 teams in the Tournament Series this year, including 42 in Division 1 and 41 in Division 2.
TEAM TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The WIAA has sponsored the State Gymnastics Championships since 1971. The event featured one division from 1971 through 1977. The State Tournament Series competition was divided into two divisions in 1978. In 2020, a change to cooperative team eligibility restricted co-op programs to a maximum of two schools or a combined enrollment of the co-op must be less than the enrollment of the largest stand-alone program in each respective division. Whitefish Bay has won the most team championships with 11, which doesn’t include two titles with Shorewood as a co-op. The Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall co-op is second on the list of team titles won with eight. In addition, the Franklin/Muskego co-op added a team title in 2022. Waukesha West/North/South is next on the list with seven, and Mount Horeb and River Falls are fourth with six. Brookfield Central and De Pere have five titles. Addie Gallun of Whitefish Bay and Beth Weber of Whitefish Bay/Shorewood have won the most individual championships in meet history with 10. Gina Piazza of Fall River is next with eight, and Jenny Donar of Southwestern/Cuba City and Samantha Krueger of River Falls have won seven.
LAST YEAR: The Franklin/Muskego co-op captured its first team title with this configuration of the co-op with a score of 147.682, and the Verona/Edgewood co-op finished runner-up with a score of 144.399. Whitefish Bay won the team championship in Division 2 for the membership-leading 12th time. The Blue Dukes compiled a score of 143.15, and Mount Horeb was second with a score 142.951. Individually in Division 1, Annika Rufenacht of Verona/Edgewood won the all-around competition with a four-event score of 38.116. Rufenacht also earned the championship in the vaulting competition, scoring 9.633 on the apparatus. Maggie Pokorny of Homestead was the gold medalist in the uneven bars with a score of 9.617. Clara Kenney of Hartford scored a 9.55 to win the balance beam, and Samaria Ownby of Madison East/Madison La Follette was the champion on the floor exercise with a score of 9.433. In Division 2, Cassi Hansen of Nicolet won the all-around without winning an event in the competition, compiling a score of 36.566. Gabby Dixon of Elkhorn won the uneven bars with a score of 9.267, and Ella Hemker of Sparta was the gold medalist on the vault with a score of 9.383. Emily Craker of Reedsburg won the balance beam with a score of 9.533, and Kate Graham of Whitefish Bay won the floor exercise with a score of 9.367.
DIVISION 1 NOTEBOOK: Three events return their champions from the State championships last season seeking a repeat title this year. Junior Annika Rufenacht of Verona/Edgewood is the returning champion in the all-around. She should be among the contenders in the event this year after winning the all-around and three events at her sectional last week. Senior Maggie Pokorny of Homestead finished second in the all-around last season and third in 2021. There is no reason to believe she won’t again challenge for the all-around championship. Pokorny won the all-around and all four events at her sectional. Also back are senior Clara Kenney of Hartford, who placed fifth in the all-around last year and 10th in 2020. She also won the all-around at her sectional last week. The other top all-arounds at sectionals were senior Izzy Keck of Chippewa Falls/McDonell Catholic and junior Kaylee Stoeger of Franklin/Muskego. Rufenacht is also the returning champion in the vault seeking to defend her title. Pokorny may also challenge for the vault after tying for third in the event a year ago and placing seventh in 2021. In addition to Rufenacht and Pokorny, other sectional champions that have qualified in the vault are Keck, freshman Payton Eicher of Arrowhead and junior Ellie Johnson of Franklin/Muskego. In the uneven bars, four of the top 10 in last year’s State meet return to the field this year, including Pokorny as the returning champion in 2022 after she placed fifth in 2021. Rufenacht was the runner-up; Kenney was third after a seventh-place finish in 2021; and senior Abby Vorpagel of Arrowhead was seventh. In addition to Pokorny, Rufenacht and Vorpagel, sectional champions in the uneven bars that may challenge for the title are Stoeger and sophomore Ava Krista of Chippewa Falls/McDonell Catholic. The balance beam has six returning gymnasts that placed in the top 10 last year, including Kenney, who’s the defending champion. Rufenacht was third; Johnson was fifth; junior Sam Burge of Mukwonago/Kettle Moraine was seventh; senior Sofia Clark of Sun Prairie West/East tied for eighth and senior Leeza Patterson of the Wilmot Co-op was 10th. In addition, Porkorny and Vorpagel return after finishing fourth and seventh on the balance beam in 2021, respectively. Sectional champions, in addition to Pokorny, that have advanced to compete for a title include freshman Breanna Johnson of Hudson, junior Denise Ta of Verona/Edgewood, freshman Mackenzie Gruszynski of Hartford and Johnson. Rufenacht is the top returning individual in the floor exercise after a runner-up finish a year ago. Four others that placed in the top five last year are back at State to contend for the title, including Stoeger, who was fourth; and Burge and Pokorny, who tied for fifth. Patterson is also back to pursue the title after placing sixth in 2021. The sectional champions that are poised to be among the leaders this week are senior Julia Stillman of Waukesha West/South and Keck.
DIVISION 2 NOTEBOOK: There are three returning champions from the State Championships last season seeking a repeat title this year. There are three gymnasts that have qualified in the all-around this season after placing in the top five at State a year ago. Senior Cassi Hansen of Nicolet is the returning champion expecting to contend for the title again this season. She also placed fifth in the all-around in 2021. Sophomore Abby Roecker of Waupun has qualified this season after placing fourth last season, and senior Ella Hemker of Sparta was fifth last season after placing third in 2021. Other top all-arounds at the sectionals include sophomore Avery Ash of Rice Lake, senior Taliya Michlig of the West Salem Co-op, and sophomore Kaylee Frank of Elkhorn, sophomore Isabell Korn of the Viroqua Co-op. Eight individuals are back in the vault after placing in the top nine in 2022, including Hemker, who won the championship and was runner-up in 2021 and fifth in 2020. She should expect stiff competition this year from junior Madilyn Fisher of Prairie du Chien/Fennimore, who was third; Ash, who was fourth; junior Morgan Siekert of the Viroqua Co-op, who was fifth; junior Ezzy Mauermann of Nicolet, who tied for sixth; as well as Michlig, senior Abbie Miller of the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Co-op and junior Kyla Krause of Medford/Colby, who all tied for ninth last year. In addition to the aforementioned Hemker, Fisher and Ash, other sectional champions that have qualified in the vault to contend for the title are Frank and Hansen. Five of this year’s qualifiers in the uneven bars placed within the top 10 at last year’s championships. Hansen and Craker were both runners-up a year ago, after third- and ninth-place finishes, respectively, in 2021. Korn was fourth last year and senior Katie Malchow of Medford/Colby was ninth. Additional contenders for the title in uneven bars include the champions at sectionals. In addition to Hansen, Craker and Malchow, Hemker and senior Gabby Dixon of Elkhorn won the uneven bars in their sectionals. Craker is the returning champion in the balance beam competition. Only two other qualifiers return this year after placing in the top 10 last season. Junior Ryann Wesley of Whitefish Bay has qualified in the event after her fourth-place effort last season, and Korn placed eighth. However, three other qualifiers this year should return to medal contention after placing in the top six in 2021, including Hansen, who placed third; Hemker, who tied for fourth; and Miller, who tied for sixth. Sectional titlists in addition to Korn vying for the balance beam championship are sophomore Athena Ouradnik of Mount Horeb, junior Rylee Sabelko of River Falls, Ash and Fischer. Hemker highlights the list of returning gymnasts in the floor exercise after placing third at State last year and fourth in 2021. Other top-10 gymnasts returning to the meet this year includes Michlig, who placed seventh; junior Jenna Heindselman of Elkhorn, who was ninth; and sophomore Abby Roecker of Waupun, who was 10th. If the top floor exercise routines at sectionals are any indication of who may be among the leaderboard at State, the champions at sectionals were junior Mel Princl of West Bend West, Fisher, Ouradnik, Michlig and Ash.
FOLLOW STATE MEET ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive updates of the State Gymnastics Tournament on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaagym. Also like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi.
NEED THE QUALIFIERS?: All participants and rotations of qualifying teams and individuals are available on the WIAA website. Access the gymnastics tournament homepage and select the State Tournament Information section, or log-in to the restricted media area of the site and access the information in the State Tourney Information in the center section.
NEED RESULTS?: The quickest way to attain results will be to access the Tournament Information section from the gymnastics homepage on the WIAA website.
STATE GYMNASTICS APPAREL: WIAA licensed apparel will be available at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School during the tournament. Apparel is also available online following the 2023 State Gymnastics Tournament. The online store will open Friday, March 3 and will close Thursday, March 16 at midnight. The link to the online store can be found in the Gymnastics Tournament page when it becomes available.
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