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Central Wisconsin gymnasts take their place in state meet

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WAOW) -- Multiple local athletes finished in the ranks at the Division 1 state meet on Saturday. But even before the state championships began, Marshfield's team was making it's mark.

Although the tigers did not qualify for state as a team, like they normally, do, four girls qualified for state individually.

That many have not qualified all together in program history. And most notably, Hanna Merkel.

Merkel qualified all around and almost, just almost hit her personal best on bars.

Merkel said, "I'm definitely relieved that it's over. I have a little less nerves now, I am so happy with my bars, I stuck it and I was like a tenth of my way from hitting my PR. Hitting close to my PR at state is exciting."

Surrounded by serious faces, Merkel could be seen in light spirits before her multiple events. When asked what her mentality going into today was like, she said, "you just gotta trust your practice, and make sure when you're in the gym you're going 100 percent so that when you're in competition sand you get nervous muscle memory just kicks in and you're ready to go."

Merkel wasn't the only one who took their place in state. SPASH did qualify as a team, and finished 8th overall.

The team reflecting on their postseason run, "we had a lot of unique aspects to our team and we focus a lot on super great quality skills instead of maybe the hardest skills and we've worked really hard for this and are enjoying this whole experience i'm really proud of the whole team."

This was their coach Jenny Bellmer's last meet and the team said they felt like this one was for her.

Coach Bellmer said,"the beginning season was challenging with all the COVID-19 things, and I felt like we were just talking today about how all the odds were stacked against us. between COVID-19, and well we can just stop right there. But were really thrilled with sectionals and just getting to state."

The Results:

In vault, Marshfields' Alexis Mushel finished 20th and Sophie Nikolay, 21st. SPASH's Maggie Kempen in 22nd.

In bars, Marshfield's Hanna Merkel and SPASH's Katelyn Towbridge tied for 14th.

On beam, SPASH's Riley Keene took 15th place, and Haley Karr in 19th. Marshfield's Phoebe Hernandez in 22nd.

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Addison Van Patten

Sports Reporter

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