December 15, 2010 at 8:39 p.m.

Stendahl guides Wildcats to slight victory over Salo-led Vikings

Stendahl guides Wildcats to slight victory over Salo-led Vikings
Stendahl guides Wildcats to slight victory over Salo-led Vikings

The gymnastics county rivalry got reinvigorated early this year.

With both the North Branch and Chisago Lakes gymnastics squads expecting good years in the North Suburban Conference, the two teams were going to figure out quick who got the bragging rights as they opening the NSC schedule with each other.

Last year, Chisago Lakes narrowly edged out North Branch, and they ended up taking second in the conference with a 7-1 mark, losing only to St. Francis by fractions of a point. North Branch, on the other hand, finished third with a 6-2 mark, with their only blemishes coming from the top two teams in the conference, Chisago Lakes and St. Francis.

With many of the same faces a part of the meet this year, both teams knew it was going to be a dogfight.

Chisago Lakes opened up the home meet on vault. Behind solid scores from Savanna Stendahl, Reba Berg and Nicole Bean, the Wildcats scored 32.750. That trio all scored over eight, with the highlight being Stendahl's 8.50. Alicia Sokol grabbed the last varsity score on vault with a 7.950. The Wildcats finished the event with a respectable 32.750.

Meanwhile, the Vikings started on the uneven bars, arguably their worst event. They only had four competitors on it, not the normal five, so they had to make every score count. A couple of falls doomed them to a low score to open the meet with no one cracking the eight point barrier. At the end of the tally, the Vikings only accumulated 29.250 points, and already started in a three and a half point hole.

North Branch started their steady climb back into the meet in their turn on vault. Bayley Ertl, Kassie Salo and Nana Olson all recorded scored over 8.3 and Jaime Salo contributed a 7.750. Their score of 32.850 nipped CL's score by one-tenth of a point.

Chisago Lakes had a little better time on the bars than North Branch did, but they still didn't do as well as they were accustomed to last year. Thomsen and Stendahl both recorded eight's on the bars and Courtney Schlegel had a 7.85, Overall, the Wildcats recorded a 31.10 and their lead had fizzled to less than two points after the second event.

North Branch completed their comeback in the third event when they took to the floor. Eights all around by Ertl, Salo and Olson and a respectable 7.325 from Jaime Salo gave the Vikings a score of 32.025 in the event, their second highest of the night. With that, their cumulative score stood at 94.125.

Over on the balance beam, Chisago Lakes more than stumbled. All five girls fell off the beam at some point, and there were point deductions all around for the Wildcats.


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