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2012-13 Winter Preview: East Ridge gymnastics team looks to fill Robinette's shoes

Off a state meet appearance, freshman Megan Trollen one of the Raptors' top gymnasts this winter.

The East Ridge high school gymnastics team is coming off an impressive 8-1 season, which led to a second place finish in Section 3AA.

Expectations for head coach Brittany Morris and the Raptors couldn't be higher for the 2012-13 season, but that will come with challenges. Especially after losing the team's best gymnast.

East Ridge lost Leah Robinette to graduation. Robinette won the state championship last season in the vault. She finished with a 9.825 to take the top-spot, a mark that was a personal-best for Robinette and a school-record.

Needless to say, she won't be easy to replace.

"We have some key players returning to the team and some new faces to add as well," said Morris. "I think it will be great to see some of the returning girls come out of their shells this year and exhibit their potential."

It will now be up to captains Libby Lawrence, Lauren Laforte and Jamila Joiner to show leadership for the Raptors. Lawrence and Joiner are both seniors, while Laforte is a junior.

Morris, who is entering her third year as head coach, also expects freshman Megan Trollen and junior Kelly McKenzie to contribute greatly. Don't be fooled by Trollen's youth. The freshman was a state-entrant last season and the Raptors expect her to be their top gymnast this winter.

Overall, the Raptors have two seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, four freshman and two eighth graders.

A meet that the Raptors likely have circled on their schedule is on Thursday, Nov. 29 at Roseville. Last year's lone loss came at the hands of the Raiders, falling by just .4 points. Other teams that the Raptors are looking out for include Park (Jan. 10) and Stillwater (Dec. 13).

Teams that will likely challenge East Ridge in sections will be Park, Rosemount and Farmington.

"I'm always excited for the gymnastics season," Morris said. "I know last year was a great year for the East Ridge team, this year we have a slightly different focus that I think will benefit us more in the long run."