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2011-12 Winter Preview: Will Park gymnastics team have a repeat performance?

Park junior Rachel Deephouse, who finished in third place in the state all-around competition last year, returns to help lead the Wolfpack this season.

Last season was a banner year for the Park gymnastics team.

Barring injuries, it's likely the Wolfpack could have a repeat performance this winter.

Last year, Park finished in third place in the Class AA state meet, won the Section 3AA championship, the Suburban East Conference championship and went undefeated in its dual meets during the regular season.

Individually, Park's Kasondra Tulloch and Rachel Deephouse became the first Park gymnasts to medal at the state meet since the 2006-07 season, taking second and third place in the all-around competition, respectively, at the state meet. Tulloch earned a season-high 38.375 all-around score and Deephouse scored a 38.3. Rogers 2011 graduate Sabrina Hoover won the Class AA state all-around title with a 38.425. It was Hoover's third-straight all-around championship.

The eight gymnasts who contributed to Park's score at last year's state meet were all underclassmen. Tulloch, Deephouse and McKay Zurn are now juniors, Baylee Erickson is a senior, Allie Minogue and Sarah LaBrosse are currently sophomores and Sarah Schank is a freshman.

The key departures Park endured in the offseason were team captain and 2011 graduate Tessa Sikich and Kelly McKenzie, who is now a sophomore at East Ridge.

The battle to watch this year in the Suburban East Conference will be between Park and perennial power Roseville.

Last year, Park beat Roseville 148.55 to 147.55 in its head-to-head conference meet - the first time the Wolfpack defeated the Raiders since the 2004-05 season.

However, at state, Roseville took second place with a 150.1 - one place ahead of Park. Northfield won the Class AA team state championship for a second-straight time with a 150.40.

At state, Park's highest score of the meet was in the vault, where it earned a 38.4. The Wolfpack also scored a 38.325 in the floor exercise, a 37.050 in the uneven bars and a 36.050 on the beam.

In Section 3AA, Park's main foe will likely be Eagan, which the Wolfpack edged 147.825 to 146.625 at the section meet last year.

This season, Mark Sikich will return for his 30th year overall with the Park gymnastics program, alongside co-head coach Terry Hardy.

The Wolfpack kicks off the season on Friday, Dec. 2, at Stillwater and follows it up with its first home meet of the year on Thursday, Dec. 8, versus White Bear Lake.