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Perfect season on the line one last time

Franklin gymnastics co-op eyes state title

March 2, 2010

The Franklin co-op gymnastics team's pursuit of perfection continues.

But now, only one week remains.

The co-op, which also includes athletes from Muskego, Whitnall and Oak Creek high schools, qualified for the WIAA State Tournament - to be held Friday and Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids - by remaining undefeated with a sectional win at Mukwonago on Feb. 25.

Franklin's 144.2 trumped Burlington's 143.75 at the nine-team meet. The top two teams moved on, as did the top five individuals in each event and the all-around.

The individual state tournament begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Lincoln Fieldhouse in Rapids; the team tournament begins at noon Saturday.

"We enter the state meet as the only team undefeated and with the highest qualifying score," Franklin coach Katie Moore said. "Finishing first at the sectional meet was a huge relief. It is always nerve-wracking at sectionals since it is the only factor that determines whether or not you go to state. The girls wanted to go so badly that they put a lot of pressure on themselves."

In addition to the team advancement, four of the co-op's athletes made it to the individual tournament.

Whitnall freshman Lauren Zurowski won the vault with a 9.4 and also qualified with her fourth-place effort of 9.4 on the floor.

Muskego freshman Shannon Hein will join Zurowski in the floor exercise thanks to her fifth-place tying effort of 9.25. Fellow Muskego participant Erin Honerlaw, a junior, took third on the beam with a 9.45 to advance.

Also, Franklin senior Jenna Renner tied for fourth on the vault with a 9.2 to move on.

Franklin freshman Melanie Pearson just missed out in the all-around; she was sixth with a personal-best 35.925, just behind the final state-qualifying effort of 36.1.

"Most impressive performances from the sectional meet came surprisingly from the freshmen," Moore said. "I thought the pressure might get to some of our younger girls, but they were awesome Thursday."

Arrowhead is the defending team state champion and among this year's favorites, along with Franklin. The Warhawks posted a 142.0333 to win last year's title over runner-up Franklin's 141.4.

The Franklin co-op was also fourth in 2008, its only other state appearance. In addition, before forming the co-op, Franklin made two state trips in the early 1980s but did not finish better than sixth.

"Now that we have qualified to state we have absolutely nothing to lose," Moore said. "A state title has been our goal all season and now we have our chance. I have no doubt that these girls are going to give it all they have."

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