Panthers hit 150, are aiming higher

North takes No. 1 ranking into state gymnastics meet

Lakeville North reached one of its biggest goals of the gymnastics season, smashing the 150 barrier in winning the Section 2AA championship.

But the Panthers still have one meet remaining, which is the state Class AA competition Friday and Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. That means they have to adjust their goals. The biggest one still remains – winning the state Class AA team championship. Lakeville programs have won 10 state titles, but none since 2003 and none in the two-school era. The No. 1-ranked Panthers will try to change that in the state team competition at 6 p.m. Friday.

Still to be achieved is North’s goal of a mistake-free meet, where each of the 20 varsity routines goes off without a hitch. “The goal is to go 20 for 20,” coach Teri Homan said. “If we can do that, we’ll probably push 152.”

Lakeville North scored 150.8 points at the Section 2AA meet last Friday, finishing about 5.5 points ahead of runner-up Lakeville South. The Panthers scored 150 points for the first time this season, and became the first team in Class AA and the second in the state to do so in 2016-17. The other is Detroit Lakes, which is favored to win the Class A team championship this weekend.

Although the Panthers had their highest score of the season at the section meet, it wasn’t a perfect performance. “We missed a couple of vaults, had a fall on beam and had a so-so floor routine,” Homan said. “Our girls were excited about finally hitting 150. There was a lot of joy last Friday. But we all know we can go higher, and that’s what we’re working toward this week.”

Ninth-grader Rachel Steiner was section all-around champion with 38.225 points. Teammates Anna Altermatt (38.05) and Delaney Gipp (37.775) were second and third.

Steiner (9.675) and Altermatt (9.55) were first and second on vault. North gymnasts took the top four spots on uneven bars with Gipp scoring 9.55, Steiner and Altermatt scoring 9.525 each and Ashley Goodlund earning 9.225.

Gipp (9.45) and Steiner (9.35) were first and third on balance beam. Altermatt won floor exercise with 9.775, with Steiner second (9.675) and Gipp (9.55) third.

Steiner will compete in the Class AA individual meet at 6 p.m. Saturday. She qualified in all four events and also is eligible for the all-around championship. Altermatt advanced in all-around, vault, bars and floor. Gipp advanced in all-around, bars, beam and floor. Goodlund will compete on bars at the state individual meet.

Owatonna, St. Cloud Tech and Stillwater appear to be the Panthers’ main competition for the Class AA team championship. St. Cloud Tech won last year, while North finished eighth. The addition of three high-level club gymnasts (Steiner, Altermatt and Gipp) to the North roster this season sent the Panthers rocketing up the state rankings.

But Homan, who was an assistant coach on several of Lakeville High School’s state championship teams, knows the state meet is fickle. “You still have to hit your routines,” Homan said. “There are several teams that could win it.”

Individuals

Lakeville North is the only South Suburban Conference team competing in the Class AA team meet Friday. Several individuals from other SSC teams will compete Saturday.

Lakeville South’s Kari Wenzel advanced through the Section 2AA meet on beam and floor. Mykaela Doornbos will compete at state on balance beam, and Ally Doornbos will be on vault.

Rosemount junior Josie Schlie won the Section 3AA all-around championship and qualified for state for the fifth consecutive year. She also qualified for state in all four individual events. Schlie’s winning all-around score of 38.025 included first places on floor (9.7) and beam (9.525). She took second on vault and third on bars.

Rosemount’s team score of 143.3 at the Section 3AA meet was .125 short of East Ridge’s winning total. Eagan, the section meet’s host team, finished third. Eagan sends Megan Harrold (all-around, vault, bars) and Teagan Ramboldt (floor) to the state individual competition Saturday.

Farmington finished second to Northfield in the Section 1AA meet and will send two individuals to state. Amanda Davenport finished second in the all-around with 37.5 points. She will compete at state in the all-around for the second consecutive year. She placed in the top four in all four events, including a victory on bars (9.525).

The Tigers’ Lauren Slayton scored 9.6 to win the Section 1AA vault competition and also advanced on vault.