January 10, 2019 at 3:01 p.m.
The Chisago Lakes gymnastics team rang in the new year with a trip to the Big Lake Tropical Twist Invitational on Saturday, January 5.
The girls did well at the meet, but it is filled with some of the best teams in the state, including five teams ranked in the top 20 in Class A. It also serves as a great section preview, with Sartell-St. Stephen, Big Lake and Becker all apart of the invite, who Chisago Lakes sees in the postseason.
Sartell won the event with a score of 146.25, Big Lake got second with a tally of 144.65, Rogers finished third with 135.2 and Chisago Lakes was just behind them in fourth with a score of 135.15. Becker rounded out the top five with a 134.05.
Big Lake’s junior varsity team, Annandale and Glencoe-Silver Lake finished the top eight out.
Top gymnast and defending state champion Aliah Williams is still working back from a shoulder injury and took part in the uneven bars for the first time this year. She finished in the middle of the pack on the beam and bars, but notched a fourth place finish on the floor exercise. She didn’t compete in the vault due the lingering injury still. “Aliah is working her way back with limited events,” Head Coach Brett Kjos explained after the meet.
Many other Wildcats were on point in the event, with multiple personal records set, including: Violet Doolittle on the vault, Savannah Gorski on the vault, Ann Nelson and the balance beam and Karley Aki on every event, and of course her all around
Claudie Stipe also set the stage for a personal best in the vault soon. She completed a piked Tsuk, which is a new move for her and increases her start value for the vault. “We practiced it over the break and wanted to see what would happen,” Kjos said. “As she practices this vault more and more, her scores will continue to improve.”
Leopold was the top scoring all around gymnast for Chisago Lakes, coming in a sixth place tie with 33.6. Stipe was in eighth with a 33.5, and Aki had a 32.0.
After a fairly slow start to the schedule, the Wildcats will ramp up their competition coming up. They’ll take on the Queens of the Mississippi 8 in Cambridge-Isanti on Thursday, January 10 and then have meets against North Branch, Big Lake and St. Michael-Albertville within a matter of a week.