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What: Section 1AA gymnastics meet.

Where, when: Century High School, 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Who: John Marshall, Mayo, Century, Farmington, Faribault, Winona, Northfield, Owatonna.

State qualifier: The top team moves on to the state Class AA meet, and the top four individuals in each event. The team portion of the state meet is Feb. 24 and the individual portion Feb. 25. Both are at Roy Wilkins Auditorium at RiverCentre in St. Paul.

Team favorite: Winona is the defending champion and a heavy favorite to repeat as champ.

Individual favorites: Rochester has two of the top gymnasts in the meet -- John Marshall's Brittney Graham and Mayo's Kellie Hemmer. Graham, a senior, qualified for state in the balance beam and the floor exercise last year. Last Saturday, with virtually the same field as is in the section meet, she won the balance beam (9.475), was fourth in floor exercise (9.450) and fourth in all-around (36.975). The all-around score was a season best.

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Hemmer, a junior, is looking to make her first state meet. She's favored to do it after winning the vault last Saturday (9.600), finishing second in the floor exercise (9.600) and second in the all-around (37.050). All of those scores were season bests.

Who else: Rochester's next best hope to reach state might be JM's Alyssa Robichaud. At the Big Nine meet, she was ninth on the vault (9.150), and 10th in the all-around (34.800).

Top gymnast: The top gymnast in the section field might be Faribault's Morgan Hanson. She won the Big Nine all-around with a 37.255 score, as well as the uneven parallel bars (9.425). Hemmer and Graham are right there with her in terms of ability.

-- Pat Ruff

pruff@posbulletin.com

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