Packers gymnasts set to compete in section
SECTION ONE, CLASS A MEET
Saturday at Red Wing High School
Teams competing:Austin, La Crescent, Pine Island, Red Wing, Simley, South St. Paul, Byron/Lourdes, Caledonia/Houston.
Defending section champion:Pine Island won the Section 1A meet last year with 143.7 points, which was four points ahead of Austin in second place. It was P.I.'s fifth section crown in six years and seventh overall. The Panthers finished seventh at state.
Section change:There are the same number of teams (eight) in this section, but South St. Paul has replaced Stewartville.
Rankings:Three teams in this section were ranked in the final coaches poll, No. 6 Austin, No. 20 La Crescent and No. 21 Byron/Lourdes.
Teams to beat:Austin went 14-0 in regular-season duals and finished a close second in the Big Nine Conference Meet. The Packers broke 140 in their last four duals. La Crescent's best scores were in the 132-133 range. Byron/Lourdes (10-2-1) broke 134 in its last two duals. Pine Island had a tough season going 1-9-1 in duals and breaking 130 only once.
Individuals to watch:Pine Island sophomore Siera McNallan is the defending section all-around champion, winning last year with 36.55 points. She also won the section beam event and went on to finish 14th all-around at state. Austin sophomore Sela Fadness is fresh off winning the Big Nine Conference all-around with 37.15 points. She won the vault (9.45) and the floor (9.5). La Crescent junior Rochelle Thesing was third all-around in the section and sixth at state last year with 36.1375. Byron/Lourdes junior Jillian Krier and seventh-grader Annika Carlson are good all-arounders who have scored in the 34-35 range.
What's at stake:The winning team along with the top four individual finishers in each event all advance to the Class A State Meet next Friday and Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. The Class A sessions are from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. both days.
— Donny Henn