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home : sports : sports
February 27, 2020

1/16/2020 4:14:00 PM
Chisago Lakes bounces back quickly to beat Becker

Less than a week prior to their Mississippi 8 Conference dual against Becker on January 9, Chisago Lakes finished behind the Bulldogs at the Big Lake Tropical Twist Invitational.

But, in the meet that counted in the standings last week, the Wildcats scrapped their way past Becker to come out on top 132.8-131.975.

Chisago Lakes was led by Elsa Leopold and her 35.975 all around score, as well as strong all around performances by Claudia Stipe and Karley Aki. Some of their specialists also stepped up in a big way, as CL needed every fraction along the way in what ended up being a razor-thin win.

CL opened on the uneven bars, which have been a problem at times this year. They did fairly well in them in this meet, with Leopold registering an 8.650 and Stipe an 8.400. Lily Grabow put up a 7.425 and Aki scored a personal best 6.975.

Although it still wasn’t a great score, it was better than it had been, and not only that, it beat Becker’s score in what is a challenging event.

“We battled hard on the uneven bars.  The Becker bars are really flexible and bouncy.  The girls really struggled in warmups trying to get used to the bars,” Head Coach Brett Kjos explained. “A definite home-gym advantage, but we still managed to grab the top two spots on bars.  Really shows how focused they were on getting a great score. It was great to see her slowly improving from meet to meet and Lily Grabow had her highest score of the season.  We are slowly building to the section meet.”

On vault, Chisago Lakes put up a good score to stick right with the high marks Becker put up. Leopold scored a 9.050, Stipe had an 8.80, Violet Doolittle scored an 8.6 and Aki an 8.5. Caty Larson even put up a very nice 8.475 to almost register her first varsity score for CL.

“We practiced all week on a shorter runway because of the Becker gym does not have the room for a full length run up to the vault,” Kjos said, pointing out another quirk in the gymnasium. “We did an excellent job at not letting that become an issue.  Elsa performed two of her Tsuks for the first time in a meet.  Violet Doolittle tied her personal best and seventh grader, Caty Larson made her varsity debut on the vault.  She scored a PR 8.475.  Caty was filling in for some of our injured gymnasts. She did awesome.”

On the floor exercise, Chisago Lakes put up a nice score, as that’s been an event they are traditionally strong in. Leopold, Stipe, Aki and McKenna Keene all scored over 8.125 to pace Chisago Lakes. “We are slowly working on increasing their difficulty on the floor and adding new skills to their routine in preparation for sections,” Kjos said.

The GymCats ended on balance beam, and they got an amazing routine from Leopold that arguably was the difference in the meet. She scored a 9.4 in what Kjos called “the best beam routine I’ve ever seen from her.

“It was just awesome. The best part is she could still go higher with her score. A couple of wobbles here and there and a step on her dismount were small detractors.”

Doolittle and Alicia Krieg also both had personal bests on the event and Stipe added an 8.150. It all added up to the ‘Cats best score of the year on beam in one of the biggest spots of the year so far.

“It was nice to get a M8 Conference victory over a team that just defeated us at the weekend before,” Kjos said.

The ‘Cats will take on conference and county rival North Branch this week, traveling to Viking Land on Thursday, January 16 at 6:30 p.m.

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