Lefever garners section gymnastics title

by Jason Olson
Sports Editor

Cambridge-Isanti captured the Section 7AA gymnastics team title by 0.250 of a point over runner-up and meet host St. Francis Feb. 18.

Saints coach Michelle Keenan said the difference in a section title came down to something as small as flexed feet. [smooth=id:526]

“So it was pretty close,” Keenan said as the Saints continued to dominate the North Suburban Conference with its seventh straight championship and pushed its winning streak to beyond 40.

The Bluejackets won two of the four disciplines including beam and floor exercise while St. Francis garnered the highest team score on the vault (35.675) and Centennial won the team title on the bars (35.225).

The Saints were coming off a 6-0 record in the North Suburban Conference this season.

St. Francis junior Autumn Lefever won the section all-around title with a season-best 36.475 and also had the highest score on the beam (9.0) and floor (9.5) while she finished fifth on the vault (9.175) and third on the bars (8.8).

She competed at state on vault last season.

Cambridge-Isanti had three gymnasts finish in the top six places in the all-around.

Lefever’s teammate Katie Bownik will also compete at state as she scored a 9.175 on the bars to win the discipline.

Natalie Wasche finished 11th in the all-around with a score of 33.3 to help the Saints earn a season high points total.

Andover teamed with Blaine during the regular season because of a lack of gymnastics but competed separately at sections. The Huskies finished sixth with 124.325 points in the team standings, led by Emily Janes’ eighth place in the all-around standings with 34.125 points. She scored an 8.875 on the floor and 8.7 on the bars to highlight her performance. Teammate and all-Northwest Suburban Conference honoree Emily Palmquist finished 14th in the all-around with 32.05 points and Ellie Rabine was 21st in the all-around with 29.55 points.

Blaine garnered fourth place in the team all-around standings with a score of 130.375, 7.625 points behind third place Centennial. The Bengals finished 7-2 in the Northwest Suburban Conference this season with help from the four Andover gymnasts.

Blaine sophomore Marissa Eggerichs was coming back from a leg injury and was cleared to practice the Tuesday before sections after a three week layoff.

Despite the time away from training, Eggerichs managed to score on three events including an 8.95 on the vault, 8.65 on the bars and 7.8 on the beam.

Sophomore teammate and all-conference honoree Julia Hoffman led the Bengals in the all-around with a 12th place finish with 32.75 points, highlighted by an 8.7 on the floor and 8.6 on the vault. Sophomore teammate Marissa Raether finished 13th in the all-around with 32.225 points, led by her 8.475 on the floor.

Coon Rapids placed seventh with 115.35 points and was led in the all-around by Shana Sipe who finished 16th in the all-around with a score of 31.425. Her top scoring event was an 8.425 on the bars. Kali Lawrence was 22nd in the all-around with 29.525 points for the Cardinals.

Anoka finished eighth in the all-around with 101.8 points and was led by Megan Merschman in the all-around with 29.3 points.