Team claims sectional title
By Jason Arndt
Wilmot Co-op gymnastics, unlike last year, spent the afternoon of Feb. 20 huddled in their home gym at Burlington’s Karcher Middle School awaiting results from the WIAA Division 1 Hartford Union High School Sectional.
The team, which participated in the morning session, left for Karcher from Hartford with Burlington/Badger Co-Op (BBG) to accommodate COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and limit the number of people at Hartford.
As the team watched Hartford Union officials read off the standings on YouTube, Wilmot Co-Op members learned they would make a return trip to state, with the host announcing the team as sectional champions for the second consecutive season.
That is not all, however, as Burlington/Badger – the team Wilmot shares a gym with – finished second and also qualified for the state meet.
Wilmot Co-op, which includes students from Union Grove and Williams Bay, recorded a team score of 145.750 with BBG registering a 143.425.
Jordin Miller, Wilmot coach, said she couldn’t be happier for her team and is elated knowing WUW will accompany BBG to Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 State Tournament in Wisconsin Rapids.
Wilmot, which finished as state runner-up last season, looks to improve upon its performance from 2020.
“This is our second year making it to state as WUW co-op,” she said. “However, we are happy that we went for that 1-2 punch with BBG at sectional again this year.”
“Maybe we can be a 1-2 punch at state? Who knows! But, we are just excited and I am thrilled that our seniors and underclassmen get this opportunity to really have great memories at state. I want them to leave state knowing they went out with a bang.”
The top five individuals in each event and all-around qualified for the State Individual Tournament, also scheduled for Saturday at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.
Wilmot co-op individually qualified senior Jadyn Pye (Wilmot), junior Annie Murphy (Williams Bay) and sophomore Leeza Patterson (Williams Bay) in multiple events.
Pye, who qualified in three events, was fourth in all-around (37.025) behind third place Murphy (37.125).
Pye, noted for her consistency, won the floor exercise (9.65), placed third in uneven bars (9.175) and finished fourth on the vault (9.3).
“Jadyn Pye has always been a very calm and collected athlete. Her floor is just so much fun,” Miller said. “Her teammates basically all know her entire routine and when she is up on floor, you can tell how much fun she is having with the support of her teammates. This being Jadyn’s senior year, her consistency has been a huge part of our success.”
Murphy, in addition to her qualifying third-place all-around, captured the vault sectional title (9.45) and finished second in the floor exercise (9.55) to qualify in both individual events.
Miller, who called Murphy a powerful force in the vault, said the Williams Bay junior presents a fearless demeanor in the event.
“Annie really attacks the vault when she is running down the runway. She never is scared to really put some power behind her blocks,” Miller said. “That power Annie has in her vaults is very strong, that she just needs to control in her landings.”
Meanwhile, as for the floor exercise, Murphy introduced a new routine this year.
The routine, Miller said, fits Murphy’s fun personality.
Like the vault, her fearlessness, especially after recovering from a knee injury, has been instrumental in the floor exercise.
“She did have a knee injury about a month ago, but has really bounced back from it, and (she’s) still not scared to try for the difficulty her routine has,” Miller said.
Patterson, a newcomer to the team, but not to gymnastics, finished fifth on the balance beam (9.25) and fourth in the floor exercise (9.425) to qualify for both events.
Patterson, who grew up in the Walworth County Gymnastics Club, decided to join WUW because her friends are on the team.
Miller remembered when the newcomer first arrived to the team at the start of the season.
Patterson told Miller of her past injuries, thinking they would inhibit her vault and uneven bars skills, but has since regained her strength on each event.
Miller said Patterson’s routines show grace and finesse, especially on beam, and has been impressed with the Williams Bay sophomore’s work on vault and bars.
“These events have been ones that needed time to gain back, but she has come out wanting to do more and more,” Miller said.
“Leeza on the floor shows how good of a dancer she is. Like I said, she is very smooth with her motions and that really helps with the artistry of her routine.”
In the floor exercise, where the team recorded 37.825, 1.25 points better than second place BBG, all four WUW contributors notched a score of 9.0 or better.
In addition to Pye (first), Murphy (second) and Patterson (fourth), senior Hannah Clark from Wilmot finished with a score of 9.2 to place 12th as the team’s fourth contributor.
Miller attributes the team’s score, and multiple qualifiers, to energy and enthusiasm.
“Our girls really love to show off their skills, creativity, and really just have fun with it. Whenever there is a girl up on floor, you will also see her teammates surrounding the floor firing each other up,” Miller said.
As for the vault, in which the team scored a collective 36.55, Miller said a solid landing has been a key for WUW.
Including Murphy (first) and Pye (fourth), Clark finished with 9.0 (ninth), while Patterson and WUW senior teammate Malia Bronson each recorded an 8.8 to tie for 15th in the event.
“I think the help of having all girls flipping and really working hard to land their vaults is what has been beneficial to us,” Miller said. “The conditioning and workouts we have worked on all season, have really paid off with how strong these girls are on this event.”
Hope for consistency
In 2020, Murphy garnered a WIAA Division 1 floor exercise co-champion title, recording a 9.5. She finished third in all-around (37.7) and tied for sixth on the vault (9.267).
Pye, meanwhile, finished 11th in bars (9.117), sixth in floor exercise (9.417) and 11th in all-around (36.401).
“My hopes for state is to just hit the routines we know we can hit,” Miller said.
“This season, these girls have really been working on consistency and I am hoping that with that consistency we will see some great success both for the team and individually.”