Pye, Murphy emerge as individual champions
By Jason Arndt
Coach Jordin Miller, of the Wilmot Co-op Gymnastics team, simply hoped for consistent performances from her squad entering the Feb. 27 WIAA Division 1 state meet in the Wisconsin Rapids.
Miller, in a previous interview, said consistency will play a key role in whether the team and individual gymnasts will succeed.
“My hopes for state is to just hit the routines we know we can hit,” she 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.”
The focus on consistency certainly paid off for Wilmot Co-op Gymnastics, which includes athletes from Union Grove and Williams Bay, as the squad accomplished a WIAA Division 1 state title.
The team, also known as WUW, accumulated 145.8 total points to capture the championship and finished ahead of second place Hartland Arrowhead (143.375).
Burlington/Badger – which shares a home gym at Karcher Middle School with Wilmot – placed third at 141.825 points in the eight team meet.
Senior Jadyn Pye, who collected multiple individual accolades, remembered sitting in suspense with her team as the WIAA announced the winners on Saturday at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School.
When the WIAA announced Arrowhead as state runner-up, Pye admits she didn’t know whether her team would finish third or as state champions, but felt relieved after officials revealed Wilmot as the winner.
“It was the best feeling, we went in and we all wanted to do it for the team,” said Pye. “We all pushed each other because we all wanted to be the best. Everyone was outstanding.”
Wilmot finished as state runner-up in 2020.
As a team, Wilmot had the best finishes in the floor exercise (37.5), vault (36.55) and uneven bars (35.725) while notching the third highest performance on the balance beam (36.025).
WUW junior Annie Murphy, of Williams Bay, also garnered several achievements as an individual and indicated the team’s focus was a critical component in the victory.
“We really focused on staying confident, having fun, cheering each other on, focusing on one event at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves,” Murphy said.
Individually, representatives from WUW reached the podium in all four events, thanks to finishing among the top six.
Pye, Murphy emerge as winners
Murphy, who qualified in two individual events, including a floor exercise title (9.75), placed second in all-around competition with a total score of 37.425.
Murphy also finished sixth in the vault at 9.475 while collecting a 9.050 in the uneven bars and 9.325 on the balance beam to contribute to team score.
“It was so exciting, I was not expecting to play high at all,” said Murphy, who finished third in all-around as a sophomore. “Getting second was amazing, It feels so great that all my work paid off.”
In the floor exercise, an event which she shared the title as a sophomore, Murphy captured the championship outright on Feb. 20 in the Wisconsin Rapids.
For Murphy, who introduced a new routine this year, focusing on her jumps helped secure the title.
“It was definitely just focusing on having fun and working on my jumps,” she said.
Miller, who previously said Murphy’s floor routine matches her personality, found agreement in Pye.
“She is such a personality and I think that helps her. She is such an amazing athlete and it showed at state,” Pye said.
Pye, meanwhile, achieved an individual title in the uneven bars at 9.5, tying Miranda Knabe from Menomonee Falls.
She acknowledged she doesn’t recall much from the uneven bars since it was a seemingly a blur at the time.
“To be completely honest, I tried to remember everything about that routine,” Pye said.
Pye, who finished sixth in all-around competition at 36.675, also tied for fourth in the floor exercise (9.4) with Meghan Todd, also of Menomonee Falls, and placed ninth with Franklin’s Emilie Rochon in the vault (9.275).
Pye contributed to the team score on the balance beam (8.5).
“On every event, I just took it one foot at a time. Overall, it was a good feeling,” said Pye, who improved upon her performances in each qualifying event from last year’s state appearance. “I was a lot more consistent than I was last year.”
Pye’s consistency – and confidence – did not go unnoticed by Murphy.
“She is always good, she won bars, I am really proud of her,” Murphy said of Pye. “She is just really good and really confident.”
Beaming with pride
Leeza Patterson, a sophomore from Williams Bay, finished in the top six in two of her qualifying events for WUW.
On the balance beam, Patterson placed fifth, recording a 9.275 while tying for sixth with Mukwonago’s Sam Burge in the floor exercise at 9.325.
Patterson, new to WUW, but not to gymnastics, presented a strong performance on the balance beam, according to Pye.
“Leeza is such a strong beam worker, and when she is on, she is on,” said Pye. “It was one of the best routines (I have seen) throughout the season.”
Patterson contributed to the team score on the uneven bars (8.375).
Patterson, according to Miller, joined the team after spending years on the club circuit participating at Walworth County Gymnastics Center.
The Williams Bay sophomore, who experienced some injuries, decided to become a WUW member with some encouragement from her new teammates.
“This year, we all knew she was 100% and we all contacted her and said ‘Hey, it would be great if you joined the team’ and she came out,” said Pye.
WUW, meanwhile, garnered contributions from seniors Malia Bronson and Hannah Clark.
Bronson, of Williams Bay, scored a 9.2 in the floor exercise, 8.95 on the balance beam, an 8.8 on the uneven bars and an 8.875 on the vault.
Bronson previously was part of Burlington co-op before the team broke into two separate squads because of WIAA rules and made her fourth state appearance last weekend.
Murphy, who attends Williams Bay with Bronson, said the senior has been a key veteran leader.
“She is one of those teammates that everyone loves,” Murphy said. “She is such an amazing person. She is just a person you can really talk to. If you need to talk to someone, she is really trustworthy, really mature, but at the same, act like a teen still.”
“I am going to miss her so much when she is gone, and Jadyn, too,” Murphy added.
Clark, of Wilmot, contributed an 8.925 on the vault for WUW.
Pye said she will miss the team camaraderie at practices, competitions and hearing her teammates, including Clark and Bronson, cheering her on during routines.
“We are all really good friends and hyped each other up,” she said. “(I am going to miss) just the dynamic, going to practice everyday, seeing everyone and having fun.”