January 26, 2012 at 8:24 a.m.
For the last half decade, the Chisago Lakes gymnastics team has dominated the North Branch squad. The results had been getting closer over the last few years, but the Vikes had yet to break through.
Behind impressive performances by Katy Trunk and Bayley Ertl, the Vikings downed the Sam Thomsen and Nicole Bean-led Wildcats, but it wasn't easy.
Things couldn't have started out better for North Branch. They scored a season-best 34.9 on the vault in their first event. They were anchored by Trunk's 9.175 and Ertl's 8.9. Ariana Olson also chipped in an impressive 8.55.
Meanwhile, on the uneven bars, the Wildcats struggled their way to a season-worst 29.3. Thomsen led the way with a 7.75 and Courtney Schlegel scored a 7.375, but other than that, the rest of the girls were in the seven area.
The Wildcats earned some of those points back on the changeover. They scored 34.1 on their vault exercises behind a level of consistency by all five gymnasts. Although they didn't have that standout performance like North Branch did with Trunk and Ertl, all five girls scored between 8.2 and 8.675, starting with Bean, Sokol and Thomsen all scoring over 8.575.
On the bars, only Olson and Trunk were able to break the eight barrier for North Branch. Trunk scored an 8.175 and Olson had an 8.025. Maranda Nelson and Ertl rounded out the top four scores with a 7.575 and 7.425.
After the two events, North Branch held a two and a half point lead at 66.1-63.4.
That lead shrunk even more when the 'Cats chipped away another point while they did their floor routine. Sokol earned an 8.5, Thomsen scored an 8.150, Madeline Carlson scored an 8 and Bean rounded out the consistent scored with a 7.925.
As the 'Cats were on the floor, North Branch scored a 31.475 on the balance beam. Trunk kept a firm grip on the all-around lead when she scored an 8.9 to lead the Vikings. Ertl scored an 8.2 and Olson earned a 7.6. Nelson scored a 6.775 to round out the top four for North Branch.
But, North Branch fended off the late charge with a strong showing in the floor exercise. Trunk, Ertl and Olson all scored between 8.45 and 8.6, and Nelson added a nice 7.8.
Meanwhile, the 'Cats scored a 32.55 on the balance beam, which is a strong score for them this season, since they've struggled to stay on the beam consistently. Bean, Carlson and Thomsen all scored over eight and Sokol came oh-so-close with a 7.9
In the all-around, Trunk ran away with the title, scoring a 34.85. Ertl was second with a 33.025 and Olson was third with a 32.625. CL's Thomsen was fourth with a 32.5 and Bean was fifth with a 32.025. Sokol finished sixth with a 31.775.
Knowing that he will see them again in sections, CL Head Coach Brett Kjos simply said, "It looks like we're going to have our work cut out for us at sections."
"This was great competition for us as both schools have been equal in what they've been scoring," NB Head Coach Barb Burdick said. "But they had the advantage because they've beaten us four years in a row."
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