Gymnastics: Warriors grab 2nd place in Central Lakes Conference meet
Brainerd hosts the Central Lakes Conference Championships Feb. 11
BRAINERD — Four Warriors were named all-conference in the Central Lakes Conference Championship meet at Brainerd High School Saturday, Feb. 11.
Brainerd needed a second place finish in the CLC Championships to finish tied for second with Sartell in the all-conference standings.
The Warriors finished 0.35 points ahead of Sartell in the Saturday’s meet to give a tie for second place in the overall conference standings.
Brainerd finished with a score of 135.35.
“Coming into this meet we knew we were ranked third behind Sartell because we didn’t win our dual meet against them,” Warriors head coach Jessica Lofrano-Larson said. “So that was our goal coming in — beat Sartell and get up into that second place spot, so I’m excited because that’s exactly what we did.”
St. Cloud dominated Saturday and finished with a score of 145.925.
Last year’s all-around state champion, Taylar Schaefer of St. Cloud, showed her prowess sweeping each event Saturday with an all-around score of 38.35
Schaefer scored a 9.8 on vault, 9.5 on bars, 9.5 on beam and a 9.55 on floor. She also was first place in the all-conference standings.
“Brainerd and Tech have always had a rivalry, but over the years the rivalry has become a lot more kind,” Lofrano-Larson said. “It’s fun watching Taylar because she’s an amazing athlete and a nice kid too.”
The top 10 gymnasts in the all-conference standings are named all-conference with gymnasts 11 and 12 earning honorable mentions. The standings are made up of an athlete's average score of their top four scores in a given event throughout the season.
Brainerd’s Josie Harguth and Anaka Schroeder were named all-conference in the all-around. Harguth scored an average of 34.05 and Schroeder a 33.85.
Schroeder finished fifth in Saturday’s all-around competition with a 33.55 with Harguth right behind her with a 33.475.
“Anaka has been really fun to watch this season,” Lofrano-Larson said. “This season has been cool to see her step into the role of not only being an all-around, but also starting to become a leader. She’s a junior this year and so it’s fun to see her come out of her shell and really own her routines and become a leader and role model for other girls on the team.
“Josie has done a really good job this year. She hasn’t been an all-around performer in the past, so this year we really wanted to pass her into that role. I know it was a goal of hers, so essentially it was just getting her vault up to a point to where it was confident. Her three other routines have always been good.”
Brenna Deason earned all-conference on the vault with an average score of 9.55 which was third highest. Deason scored her average 9.55 Saturday as well.
“She has a beautiful vault,” Lofrano-Larson said. “She gets big height. We always joke that if I can’t reach her and she is pulling me with her when I try to catch her on her timer it’s a good timer. So when she is able to get above my head and I can’t reach her we are in good shape. It’s a beautiful vault and she’s done a lot of work to clean it up in really tiny ways.”
The Warriors best performance Saturday came on the floor where three of their gymnasts finished in the top 10.
Schroeder scored an 8.975 for fifth place, Lauren Castle sixth with an 8.95 and Harguth was eighth with an 8.875.
Harguth along with Castle earned all-conference honors on the floor. Castle finished fourth overall with an average score of 9.2.
“She has a gorgeous floor routine,” Lofrano-Larson said. “She’s consistent and really a really level-headed athlete especially for how young she is as a sophomore. She doesn’t let her nerves get to her and it’s fun to watch her.”
Harguth and Schroeder each got all-conference on beam. Harguth finished with an average score of 9.12 and Schroeder an 8.89.
The Warriors struggled on beam Saturday with every gymnast falling, but Evi Helsene, who scored an 8.275.
On the bars, Sophia White recorded an 8.05 Saturday which was good enough for seventh. White also got all-conference on the bars with an 8.37. Harguth was honorable mention with an average score of 8.16.
“We have a strong set of underclassmen and Sophia is a great example of that,” Lofrano-Larson said. “She is one of our top bar workers and she put in some upgrades today that didn’t perfectly work in, but it was exactly what we wanted to see. Now, we know what we need to do going into sections to get those perfected.”
The Warriors are back in action Saturday, Feb. 18, for the Section 8-2A meet at St. Cloud Tech High School to see who will go to state.
“Ths goal is to clean the upgrades up,” Lofrano-Larson said. “And making sure they flow into routines.”
1-St. Cloud 145.925, 2-Brainerd 135.35, 3-Sartell 135, 4-Alexandria 133.5, 5-Sauk Rapids 132.075, 6-Willmar 131.7, 7-Fergus Falls 130.325
Vault: 1-Taylar Schaefer (SC) 9.8, 3-Brenna Deason (Brd) 9.55, T10-Anaka Schroeder (Brd) 9.0, T12-Ella Dircks (Brd) 8.85, T14-Lauren Castle 8.75,T19-Josie Harguth 8.45
Uneven parallel bars: 1-Schaefer 9.5, T7-Sophia White (Brd) 8.05, 8-Schroeder 8.0, 9-Harguth 7.95, T15-Sydney Jones (Brd), T19-Ava Antonsen (Brd) 7.2
Balance beam: 1-Schaefer 9.5, 10-Evi Helsene (Brd) 8.275, T12-Harguth 8.2, T13-Deason 8.175, 16-Lauren Castle (Brd) 7.9, 22-Schroeder 7.575
Floor exercise: 1-Schaefer 9.55, 5-Schroeder 8.975, 6-Castle 8.95, 8-Harguth 8.875, T15-Meghan Wirtz (Brd) 8.4, T18-Dircks 8.325
All-around: 1-Schaefer 38.35, 5-Schroeder 33.55, 6-Harguth 33.475
1-St. Cloud 13, T2-Brainerd 10, T2-Sartell 10, 4-Alexandria 6, 5-Sauk Rapids 5, 6-Willmar 4, 7-Fergus Falls 1
Vault: 1-Schaefer 9.84, 3-Deason 9.55
Uneven parallel bars: 1-Schaefer 9.49, 7-White 8.37, 11-Harguth 8.16
Balance beam: 1-Schaefer 9.5, 5-Harguth 9.12, 9-Schroeder 8.89
Floor exercise: 1-Schaefer 9.66, 4-Castle 9.2, 10-Harguth 8.84
All-around: 1-Schaefer 38.36, 4-Harguth 34.05, 5-Schroeder 33.85
Next: Brainerd at the Section 8-2A Tournament in St. Cloud 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.