MHS gymnasts win Big 8 title

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MTT News Desk's picture
Rob Reischel
Lucy Bergenthal and Middleton's girls gymnastics team won the Big Eight Conference title last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They could have let the unexpected falls break their spirit.

They could have allowed the early setbacks to linger throughout the day.

But that’s not how Middleton’s girls gymnastics team is wired. Not even close.

At the Big Eight Conference meet Saturday at Janesville Craig, Middleton suffered four early falls in the balance beam. Since each fall counts as a deduction of 0.5 points, that set the Cardinals back 2.0 points.

But Middleton rebounded in a big way and battled back to edge Verona/Madison Edgewood for the title, 141.10-140.90.

“I was not expecting that high of a team score,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “But I think it shows the girls just what they are capable of.

“After the meet, several girls came up to me and said, ‘If we can get a 141.1 with four beam falls, think of what we can do if we stick our routines!’ It really motivates the girls to know there is room for improvement.”

Junior Aryn Skibba led the Cardinals, winning the all-around title with a 37.60 score. Skibba was first on the vault (9.675), first on the uneven bars (9.45) and first on the floor (9.575). Skibba also finished seventh on the beam (8.90), despite her fall.


"Winning all around was my goal and I accomplished it," Skibba said. "I love representing Middleton. Even with my fall on beam I came back strong to beat my competition. I'm very proud of myself and the team."

Bianca Bakkar was fourth in the all-around competition at 36.15. Bakkar was second on the bars (9.30) and fourth on the floor (9.325).

Lucy Bergenthal was fifth on the bars (8.825), seventh on the vault (9.15) and eighth on the floor (8.775). Gabby Aranda was eighth on the bars (8.50), Katherine Marshall was 17th on the floor (8.275) and Dana Flickinger was 18th on the floor (8.225).

“All of the girls had incredible meets and I couldn't be more proud of them,” Steck said. “They want to work harder and conquer that challenge personally and for the team.”

The Cardinals certainly overcame a giant challenge to topple Verona/Edgewood.

Middleton’s four beam falls were certainly uncharacteristic. But after a bye round, the Cardinals rebounded in a big way.


"Winning the Big Eight really meant a lot, especially two years in a row," Skibba said. "Verona is our biggest competition, but even with falls we managed to sneak ahead of them which was an amazing accomplishment."

Middleton now believes that will be a springboard for Saturday’s Waunakee Sectional, which begins at 11 a.m.

“The girls gave everything they had the rest of the meet,” Steck said. “It is amazing to see a group of girls support and encourage each other so much.

“I think you’ll see that at sectionals. The girls know what they are capable of and they aren't afraid to show it.”

Middleton certainly showed what it’s capable of last week.

The Cardinals toppled Madison Memorial, 136.55-131.30, last Tuesday to clinch a share of the Big Eight’s dual meet title.

Skibba led the way with a second-place finish in the all-around (36.65). Skibba was first on the bars (9.25), first on the floor (9.525) and second on the vault (8.925).

Bakkar was third in the all-around (35.325), as well as third on the floor (9.175), bars (8.90) and vault (8.80).

Bergenthal was also fourth on the vault (8.675) and Marshall was fourth on the floor (8.25).

“This was a great opportunity for the girls to put in new skills in a safe environment where there would be ‘wiggle room,’ ” Steck said.

With a league co-title wrapped up, Steck gave many of her gymnasts off Wednesday night at Janesville Craig. Middleton hung tough, but eventually fell to the Cougars, 132.80-130.6.

That meant the Cardinals and Verona/Edgewood shared the regular season title.

“It was also a great opportunity for many JV gymnasts who usually don't get the opportunity to shine on varsity to compete at the varsity level,” Steck said. 

Bakkar was first on the bars (9.225) and beam (9.15), while Lauren Ace won the all-around title (32.075). Skibba was second on the bars (9.0), Marshall was second on the floor (8.30) and Gabby Aranda was third on the bars (8.75).

“This week was an unusually demanding week for the girls, so following the Memorial dual meet on Tuesday, we made the decision to allow the gymnasts that needed the rest … to rest,” Steck said. “With conference Saturday, we knew it was what was best for the girls and the team.”


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