Park gymnastics: Sikich coaches final meet at Park High School
Mark Sikich coached his final gymnastics meet at Park High School last week as Park took on longtime rival Roseville to close out the 2012-13 regular season.
The longtime Park gymnastics coach and three-time Minnesota State Gymnastics Coach of the Year is stepping down from the job at the end of the year - his 31st as a coach.
After the meet, Sikich said it has been "an honor" to coach at Park High School.
"Park has been very near and dear to my heart for over half of my life," Sikich said. "The support from the administration and the community has been tremendous. To be able to raise my family here is very, very special. It's a wonderful place to work and the kids and parents have been wonderful. It's something I'll never forget."
A number of Park alumni attended the meet and the current Park gymnasts wore throwback leotards for the warm-ups in honor of Sikich.
"I was really, really surprised to see that happen," Sikich said. "It brought a tear to my eye, no question."
In the regular-season finale, held Thursday, Feb. 7, at Park, the Wolfpack, ranked seventh in the state in Class AA fell 147.250 - 142.875 to Roseville, which is ranked second.
Park won the vault 37.2 to 36.575, but the Raiders topped the Wolfpack in the other three events. Park scored a 37.725 in the floor exercise, a 35.6 on the beam and a 32.8 on the bars.
Park senior Kasondra Tulloch led the way for the Wolfpack, scoring a 37.025 in the all-around, which was good for second place. Roseville's Emily VanKrevelen won with a 37.850. In addition, for Park, sophomore Sarah Schank scored 36.150 in the all-around for fifth place and junior Sarah LaBrosse scored a 34.3 in the all-around for seventh place.
Tulloch took first place in the vault with a 9.625, won the floor exercise with a 9.575 and was second on the beam with a 9.325.
In the vault, senior Rachel Deephouse took second place with a 9.5, Schank took fifth with a 9.175 and junior Allie Minogue placed seventh with an 8.9. In the floor exercise, Schank took fourth (9.4), senior McKay Zurn earned sixth (9.3) and Deephouse took eighth with a 9.0. On the beam, LaBrosse earned fourth place with a 9.0 and Schank was seventh with an 8.775. Schank had the team's top score on the bars with an 8.8, which was good for fourth overall. Tulloch scored an 8.5 to take sixth.
Next, Park will attempt to win a third-straight Section 3AA championship title at the section meet on Friday, Feb. 15, at Eagan High School. Park finished third in the state in the 2010-11 season and fourth last year.
"I think our girls are ready to explode," Sikich said. "I think we're going to go big. Everything is there. The bottom line is how bad the girls want it."