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Gymnasts hit season high

When the final team scores were announced at the end of Thursday night's Big Rivers Conference gymnastics dual meet between Hudson and River Falls, Raider coach Holly Stewart said it was hard to tell which team won.

Two-time defending BRC champion River Falls took first with a score of 138.125. But Stewart said the Raiders' score of 136.05 was a season-high that gave the team plenty to be excited about.

"The girls had a great meet," Stewart said. "They have been working hard and setting goals as a team. Combining the JV and varsity scores, we set 24 high scores for the season."

Stewart said the varsity also reached its team goal of 135.

"After the final score was announced, you never would have been able to guess that we took second to River Falls."

The Raiders were boosted by strong performances in the vault and the floor exercise. Hudson took three of the top four spots on floor to outscore River Falls 35.2 to 34.575, and three of the top five places in the vault to win that event 34.5 to 34.1.

Paige Kazak, who finished third in the all-around, paced the Raiders in the vault with a second place score of 8.85, while Toria Ferrell and Amanda Baker tied for third with identical scores of 8.65.

Baker led the way on the floor by taking second with a score of 9.05, followed by Kazak in third with 8.95 and Ferrell fifth with 8.775. Jenny Strom added a sixth place score of 8.425 to give Hudson four of the top six finishers in the event.

Kazak was the top Raider finisher on the uneven bars with a fifth place score of 8.5, while Ferrell led Hudson on the balance beam with a fifth place score of 8.5.

Kazak took third in the all-around competition with a total score of 34.775 while Sarah Monette was fifth with a score of 32.55.

Two nights earlier, Monette and Kazak finished first and second in the all-around to lead the Raiders to a 131.2 to 121.5 nonconference victory at Red Wing, Minn.

Monette won the all-around title with a total score of 33.75 while Kazak was second with 33.325.

Stewart said every gymnast played a role in the victory.

"Although our team score doesn't show it, this was the first meet where our girls worked together as a team to encourage each other and compete as a team and not only as individuals," she said. "Sometimes that is more important than the score, and for that, I am proud of them."

Sarah Erickson contributed a first place score of 8.275 on the uneven bars while Kazak was second with 8.25, Monette third with 8.125 and Baker fourth with 8.025.

Kazak won the vault with a score of 8.95 with Ferrell second (8.55), Monette third (8.325) and Jenny Strom fifth (8.0).

Monette had a first place finish on the balance beam with a score of 8.425 while Kazak was second (8.025), Kirstin Strom fourth (7.9) and Brooke Rozenboom fifth (7.775).

Monette was the Raiders' highest finisher on floor with a fourth place score of 8.175. Jenny Strom was fifth with 8.15.

The Raiders will host the Hudson Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 30, beginning at 10 a.m. at Willow River Elementary School.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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