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Gymnastics: NLS Wildcats notch 4th straight 6A title

Feb. 18—MORRIS — Section 6A belongs to the New London-Spicer gymnastics team once again.

The Wildcats capped off their fourth straight section championship on Saturday. NLS won with a team score of 142.725. Willmar was second with a season-high 139.475. Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg finished third with 137.400.

Along with NLS, the Class A state team championship field includes Byron, Mankato West, Worthington, Breck, Watertown-Mayer/Mound-Westonka, Becker and Melrose. The state meet takes place at 11 a.m. Friday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.

"It was a great meet; the top three teams were very close going into this section meet," said Wildcats head coach Cindy Jacobson. "It was a matter of who hit their routines. I feel the NLS team has some real depth on their team that we could really use any of our girls for the total score.

"It is an honor to be able to represent Section 6A, since the top teams have been in the top 10 rankings through the year. Now it is our time to try and clean up our routines even more and try to get a better placing at state than last year (eighth), but we are up to the challenge."

Along with the team competition, the Wildcats have four gymnastics competing in the individual and all-around championship. Ciera Anderson and Abby Knudsen qualified in the all-around. Kaitlyn Preheim qualified in the uneven bars (fifth, 8.1), balance beam (second, 9.0) and floor exercise (third, 9.3), and Kaisa Williams made state in the bars (sixth, 7.95).

Anderson was the section champion in the vault with a score of 9.575. She was second in the all-around at 36.35. Knudsen placed third in the all-around with 36.3.

Willmar's Lyndi Koosman was the 6A all-around champion with a combined score of 36.8. She finished first in the bars (8.875), beam (9.05) and floor exercise (9.475). She was third in vault (9.4).

Koosman will be joined at state by teammates Carlee Brown and Mallory Beier. Brown made state in the bars (fourth, 8.425) and floor (sixth, 9.1). Beier qualified in the vault (fourth, 9.35).

"The coaching staff was elated to see the athletes come together as one and celebrate the 23-24 gymnastics season," said Cardinals head coach Torrie Heitzman. "They put their trust in one another and didn't let small mistakes escalate. They truly competed for one another and finished on empty."

Benson/KMS has a state-bound quartet. Gwen Wilcox reached state in the floor (fourth, 9.25) and beam (fifth, 8.875). In vault, the Braves' Olivia Noble (fifth, 9.325) and Lexi Hoberg (sixth, 9.2) both qualified. Sophie Hilleren (fourth, 8.95) made state on the beam.

The top three in the all-around and the top three in each event not in the all-around qualify for state. The Class A individual and all-around championships are set for 11 a.m. Saturday back at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.