Gymnasts set for sectionals

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Megg Weiler and Middleton’s girls gymnastics team head to the Mukwonago Sectional on Thursday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Kari Steck knows the challenge is immense.

But Steck — Middleton’s girls gymnastics coach — believes her Cardinals are ready.

Middleton heads to the 10-team Mukwonago Sectional Thursday where the opponents and the format will be different from past years.

Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, five teams will compete in the first session, then Middleton and four other teams will compete at night. In the past, all 10 teams competed at the same time.

After the two sessions end, the top two teams will qualify for state, as well as the top five individuals on vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around competition.

“It's challenging going into the Milwaukee-area sectional this year with so few meets, but we're hopeful the girls just keep positive attitudes,” Steck said. “We are all just so grateful that we've been able to practice and compete at all, and do so safely.”

The early session will consist of Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Waukesha Co-op and Waunakee/DeForest. The evening session includes Middleton, Milton/Edgerton, Mukwonago/Kettle Moraine, Sun Prairie and Verona/Madison Edgewood.

Last year, Milton/Edgerton finished sixth at state, while Verona/Madison Edgewood was 10th.

The Cardinals have qualified for state eight of the past nine years and 12 of the last 14, but fell short last season.

This year will be dramatically tougher, though, due to limited practice time and fewer meets because of COVID-19 restrictions inside Dane County.

In fact, Middleton had just its second meet of the season last week when it fell to Verona/Madison Edgewood, 132.10-130.650.

Middleton’s Megg Weiler was third in the all-around competition with a 33.625, while Taylor Engelkes was fourth (33.575) and Jayden Mathias was fifth (31.30).

Engelkes was first on the vault with an 8.875, while Weiler was fifth with an 8.20. Weiler was first on the uneven bars (8.450), while Engelkes was second (8.375), Lucy Hellenbrand tied for third (8.350) and Mathias was fourth (7.950).

Weiler was second on the balance beam (8.80). And on the floor exercise, Engelkes was third (8.450), Weiler was fourth (8.175) and Hellenbrand was fifth (8.150).

“This was a huge confidence boost for the girls going into sectionals,” Steck said of the meet. “V-ME is a tough team, so for us to be able to hold our own and put up a fight is huge.

“This was only our second meet, so the girls are still gaining their confidence and fixing things in routines. The improvement from last week to this week was huge, and I anticipate that only growing.”

 

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