Tags: Feature Sports Story, Sports
Lyons native Molly Benavides won state in both the floor and vault events Friday. Rick Benavides. (click for larger version)
Ciara Johnson was BBW's lone representative from Badger High School last weekend. Rick Benavides. (click for larger version)
March 05, 2013 | 02:44 PMWISCONSIN RAPIDS — This time at the WIAA Division 1 state gymnastics meet, it wasn't nerves.
And it wasn't necessarily a lack of performance.
On Saturday at team state, Franklin was simply too good.
Burlington/Badger/Wilmot (BBW) registered its highest score ever at team state, a 148.001, but it wasn't enough as Franklin scored a state meet record 150.516 to capture the state championship.
It was BBW's third straight second-place finish and Franklin's third consecutive title.
The Sabers exacted revenge on the Demons, who beat Franklin for the sectional title a week earlier.
BBW coach Diane Biedrzycki admitted it was tough to fall short of a state title again.
"It was disappointing to finish second," she said. "We are proud of the score we put up, but know it could have been so much higher if we had an error-free day. We knew going into the meet that we had to hit all our events, and that didn't happen."
BBW came out firing, posting a 37.817 on the vault, led by Molly Benavides' 9.75. However, Franklin answered with a 37.716. In the second event, the bars, Benavides fell twice and struggled to complete her set. Despite a 9.567 from Jenna Fitzpatrick and a 9.55 from Bailey Fitzpatrick, BBW settled for a 35.517 on bars.
Franklin capitalized with a 37.133 on bars and gained a comfortable lead.
Burlington couldn't catch up, as Franklin was virtually perfect the rest of the meet.
"It wasn't a higher skill level or anything like that, just that they hit their events and we did not hit as a team and that cost us the title," Biedrzycki said.
Jenna Fitzpatrick and Bailey Fitzpatrick had to compete on all four events less than 24 hours after doing the same thing Friday in the individual state meet. Both girls hit all four of their events both days.
Overall, Biedrzycki was pleased with girls' individual performances Saturday.
"For the Fitzpatrick girls to go back-to-back days and hit all four events is very tough both on the body and mind," she said. "They put together two awesome days. Jenna's scores on Saturday totaled even higher than her individual all-around from Friday night. Lauren Otter was another standout on Saturday. Her two events are key to our team score and she put up some of her highest scores of the season. She did everything possible to help the team Saturday."
BBW won the vault with a team score of 37.817, just ahead of Franklin's 37.716. Benavides scored a 9.75, and Jenna Fitzpatrick added a 9.517.
Badger's lone competitor, Ciara Johnson, hit an 8.983 on vault, her best score of the day.
Overall, Biedrzycki can't complain about a conference and sectional title along with a solid state meet.
"The girls all improved both in skill level and quality of work," she said. "They set so many goals for themselves, and they were a joy to coach because they were all about the team aspect."
So what will it take to finally get over the hump and win that elusive state title?
"We need to work on the depth of our varsity team," Biedrzycki said. "Losing a couple athletes at the start of the season forced us to go with a small roster. We only had six girls all season, and thankfully every one of those girls stayed healthy. It hurts the team score however, when one of the girls is having an off day and we don't have the ability to switch girls around or count on the next score being as high as what is needed."
BBW wins four titles
On Friday, Burlington nearly came away with a clean sweep of titles at the individual state meet.
Bailey Fitzpatrick won the all-around for the second straight year with a 38.216. She also won state on the bars with a 9.6.
Benavides, a Lyons native, won state in both the floor (9.6) and vault (9.667).
Jenna Fitzpatrick finished third on bars, fourth on vault and third in the all-around.
Overall, BBW earned nine medals, with Bailey Fitzpatrick totaling four, Jenna Fitzpatrick three and Benavides two.
"Friday was a great day for BBW gymnastics," Biedrzycki said. "To come away with four of the five gold medals available is pretty impressive, and nine overall is something to be so proud of. Had the girls had a better sectional meet on the beam, we would have won three more medals. It is so rewarding to see three different girls on the podium multiple times."