Tags: Feature Sports Story
Michelle Dankle recieves a hug Saturday after her floor event.
Freshman Bailey Fitzpatrick won the state title in the all-around and the bars at Friday's individual state meet.
March 07, 2012 | 07:36 AMWISCONSIN RAPIDS — When Bailey Fitzpatrick wrapped up her floor routine Saturday, she walked back to her Burlington/Badger/Wilmot gymnastics teammates.
Tears streaming down her face, she sought out a teammate to hug. The look on her face said it all, and it reverberated throughout the faces of teammates, parents and fans.
After a roller coaster weekend at the WIAA state gymnastics meet which saw BBW earn eight individual medals Friday, the girls picked the worst time, Saturday's team meet, to have their roughest performance of the season.
Franklin won its second straight state title with a score of 147.648. BBW placed second for the second straight season, totaling a 145.116.
With a sub-par beam routine where BBW counted two falls, the Demons needed defending champion Franklin to falter on its turn on beam, its last event of the day.
That simply didn't happen. The Sabers broke open a one-point lead by hitting all four spots on beam, and all BBW could do was wait.
The Demons, trailing by three points, had to wait almost two full rounds before their last event of the day, the floor, which was almost a formality.
BBW, which was ranked No. 1 in the state coming into this weekend, scored eye-popping 150s the two previous meets and was the favorite to take its first state title in school history.
The Demons reeled off the three highest scores in state gymnastics history this season, and BBW coach Diane Biedrzycki knew it would be hard to maintain that elite level.
"Our beam was disappointing and totally uncharacteristic," she said. "I honestly thought something like this was coming. We're human, and unfortunately, today is when we struggled. It's deja vu from last year. We missed on beam last year, too, and Franklin didn't miss."
Anything the Demons did Saturday, the Sabers did just a bit better.
BBW started the day with scores of 36.101 in the vault and 37.149 on the bars, two solid scores. But Franklin's 36.899 on vault and high 36 on bars gave it a one-point lead after two events.
"We were really happy with our bars," Biedrzycki said. "Usually we can separate ourselves on that event, but Franklin was really good as well. On vault, we had some falls. We weren't ourselves."
BBW only had two girls score a nine or higher on vault, while Franklin had four.
Needing an above-average score on beam, Kerry Leonard, Fitzpatrick and Jenna Fitzpatrick all suffered falls. Freshman Molly Benavides' 9.183 couldn't salvage the team score.
"Both of my events could've gone a little better," said Leonard, a Badger High School senior. "But it was just nerves and pressure. We had good beam scores the past five meets. We kind of lost it a little bit."
"The most difficult thing for me Saturday was after beam tallying up our three events and finding out that we had no chance to catch up to Frankigo (Franklin/Muskego/Whitnall/Oak Creek)," Benavides said. "That's what made floor so hard. We all thought we had them because of all the recent meets. I would say we weren't on. Vault is what started the fall. But we did all we could do."
Leonard tallied an 8.35 on beam and an 8.667 on vault. Badger sophomore Robyn Scheuerman had the second-best team score on vault with a 9.217.
Overall, it was a standout season for BBW. The girls won every dual meet and invite before falling Saturday. They held the state's No. 1 ranking all season long and now hold the state's three highest scores. Leonard said the team's chemistry was off the charts.
"I'll miss everyone," she said. "We've been the closest as a team since my freshman year, and it's been a lot of fun."
At Friday's individual state meet, Bailey Fitzpatrick won the state title in the all-around (37.350) and the bars (9.533).
Benavides, a Lyons native, won state on the beam with a 9.333. She shared the title with Franklin's Sammie Olson.
Benavides was third all-around with a 36.65, just behind Madison Memorial's Caroline Smith (36.833). Benavides also took fifth in the vault (9.267).
Bailey Fitzpatrick placed second on the floor (9.383), and Jenna Fitzpatrick nabbed third on the bars with a 9.4.
BBW's eight individual medals are a school record.
Also, "like" our new Facebook page, Regional News Sports Check, for access to an exclusive photo gallery from today's state meet.