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'Pack bounces back at home invite

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After consistently hitting scores that were higher than their previous performance, Park High School's gymnastics team struggled in Suburban East Conference competition last Thursday and lost to Stillwater, 146.8 to 133.775.

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But the Wolfpack landed on its feet two days later.

Literally.

Park hosted its third annual invitational last Saturday and scored a season-high 137.025, taking seventh place behind state favorite and winner Roseville (153.15).

"It was a very, very exciting weekend," said Park coach Mark Sikich. "It's always fun for us to host this huge invitational. Roseville is far and above many teams right now, and it's fun watching them. For the rest of us, we had quite a few teams that were in the 137-range, so it was tight there."

The Wolfpack solidified a season-high score on the vault, as senior co-captain Erica Larson tied for 17th place with 9.0. Fellow senior co-captains Brittany McArdell and Lisa Kaiser finished with 8.5 and 8.4, respectively. Alissa Munger and Hayley Van Pelt tied with 8.35, Ashley Mann had 8.25 and Tessa Sikich finished with 8.1.

Park continued with another season-high performance -- this time on the bars -- as Larson led with a 12th-place finish of 8.95. McArdell tied for 15th with 8.8, Ali McDowell tied for 18th with 8.6 and Van Pelt tied for 20th with 8.45. Tessa Sikich completed 8.4, earning 21st place, while Munger finished in 24th place with 8.2.

The Wolfpack, though, struggled on the beam, as Mann, a freshman, recorded the best score for Park with 8.4 -- a tie for 19th place.

But whatever tumbles the 'Pack took on

the beam, it overcame in the floor routine, as Park turned out several season-high performances in its final event of the afternoon.

Larson landed a season-best 9.225 for 15th place, Sikich threw a season-high 8.95 for 19th place, Bre Erickson tied for 22nd with 8.8 -- also a season-high -- and Van Pelt was 24th with 8.65. Jordan Arganbright was 31st with 8.3 and Mann was 32nd with 8.25.

Larson led the 'Pack in the all-around, taking 16th place with 34.875. Van Pelt followed with 33.2 for 28th place and Tessa Sikich was 30th with 32.8.

Saturday's performance was almost a four-point jump from last Thursday's performance, where the Wolfpack fell to 2-4 in the SEC.

"We seemed a little bit flat for some reason," coach Sikich said of last Thursday's loss to Stillwater. "It was a little bit of a setback for us; we actually regressed a little bit from the previous week against White Bear Lake when we scored 136 points. But we concentrated on a few things on Friday to try to get our mindset a little bit more focused in preparation for the big invite we had on Saturday."

Against Stillwater, Larson led Park on the vault, earning fifth place with 9.175. McArdell was seventh with 8.97 and Munger was eighth with 8.6.

McArdell led the 'Pack on the bars, taking sixth with 8.55. Van Pelt followed with 8.3 for seventh place, while Larson and Tessa Sikich tied for eighth with 8.1s. McDowell was ninth after completing 8.025.

Van Pelt took the Wolfpack's helm on the balance beam, earning 8.35 for fifth while Erickson followed in seventh with 8.0. Larson was third on the floor routine with 9.025, followed by Van Pelt in fifth (8.425), Tessa Sikich in sixth (8.375), Erickson in seventh (8.25) and McDowell in ninth (8.15).

Stillwater's junior varsity team also came away with a win, beating Park 127.3 to 125.6. Senior co-captain Kaiser led Park with a second-place finish in the vault (8.7), Munger earned a second-place finish on the bars (8.1) and Mann tied for first place with a 7.95 on the beam. Jordan Arganbright was second in the floor routine with 8.3.

"It was a good learning experience because we went into the invitational and were expecting to do better, which we did," coach Sikich said.

Park's next meet is tomorrow, Jan. 31, and will be against Cretin-Derham Hall at Park High School. The Wolfpack will celebrate its Senior Night and Parents Night at 6:30 p.m.

"It will be a special night for us and our kids," coach Sikich said. "It's a 6:30 p.m. start, so we're hoping to see a lot of people there. That might help us strive even harder to attain that elusive 140 points that I think we're very, very close to getting."

Jan. 24

Varsity

STILLWATER 146.8, PARK 133.775

Park individual results

VAULT -- 5, Erica Larson 9.175; 7, Brittany McArdell 8.97; 8, Alissa Munger 8.6

BARS -- 6, McArdell 8.55; 7, Hayley Van Pelt 8.3; 8 (tie) Larson, Tessa Sikich 8.1; 9, Ali McDowell 8.025

BEAM -- 5, Van Pelt 8.35; 7, Bre Erickson 8.0

FLOOR -- 3, Larson 9.025; 5, Van Pelt 8.425; 6, Sikich 8.375; 7, Erickson 8.25; 9, McDowell 8.15

ALL-AROUND -- 5, Erica 34.25

Junior varsity

STILLWATER 127.3, PARK 125.6

VAULT -- 2, Lisa Kaiser 8.7; 3, Hayley Van Pelt 8.45; 5, Stephanie Friest 8.3; 6, Ali McDowell 8.25; 7, Sarah Ward 8.1; 8, Dani Jannetto 8.05

BARS -- 2, Alissa Munger 8.1; 5, Bre Erickson 7.65

BEAM -- 1 (tie) Ashley Mann 7.95; 2, Jannetto 7.85; 4 (tie) Munger 7.2; 5, Sikich 7.15; 6, Angela Zarich 7.0

FLOOR -- 2, Jordan Arganbright 8.3; 4, Mann 8.15; 5 (tie) Brittany McArdell 8.0

Jan. 26

Park Invitational

Team results

1, Roseville 153.15; 2, Rosemount 144.60; 3, Woodbury 144.35; 4, Eden Prairie 143.38; 4, Winona 141.375; 5, Wayzata 137.425; 6, Brainerd 137.275; 7, Park 137.025; 8, Cooper 132.50; 9, Irondale/Spring Lake Park 109.30

Park individual results

VAULT -- 17 (tie) Erica Larson 9.0; Brittany McArdell 8.5; Lisa Kaiser 8.4; Alissa Munger, Hayley Van Pelt 8.35; Ashley Mann 8.25; Tessa Sikich 8.1

BARS -- 12, Larson 8.95; 15 (tie) McArdell 8.8; 18 (tie) Ali McDowell 8.6; 20 Van Pelt 8.45; 21, Sikich 8.4; 24, Munger 8.2

BEAM -- 19 (tie), Ashley Mann 8.4

FLOOR -- 15, Larson 9.225; 19 (tie) Sikich 8.95; 22 (tie), Bre Erickson 8.8; 24, Van Pelt 8.65; 31, Jordan Arganbright 8.3; 32, Mann 8.25

ALL-AROUND -- 16, Larson 34.875; 28, Van Pelt 33.2; 30, Sikich 32.8

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