Viroqua cooperative gymnast Lydia Korn served notice that she will be a force to be reckoned with during the 2017-18 season when she walked away with all-around honors at the four-team Holmen Invitational Thursday, Dec. 7.

Korn, a Cashton High School sophomore, won top honors on the balance beam (8.55), vault (8.80), placed fifth on the uneven bars (7.90) and 11th in the floor exercise (7.225). Korn’s total score of 34.475 easily outdistanced Emma O’Flaherty of West Salem, a distant second-place finisher, with a score of 32.150.

“Lydia had two falls on her passes on floor,” said Viroqua coach Darcy McClelland, “but she was able to pull herself out of it and finished strong with a no-fall beam routine.”

Gracey Mlsna, also a Cashton High School sophomore, placed sixth in the individual all-around with a 28.70. Mlsna scored a 7.90 on the vault, 7.750 on the balance beam and 6.525 on both the floor and vault events.

“Overall floor, which has always been a strong event for us, turned out to be a struggle for us,” McClelland said. “After that we had to re-group and I shared a story with the girls about another first meet (of the year) a few years back that I experienced with a very talented mature team that went bad and with that team I let them know how disappointed I was in them, but could not do the same with this team, they’re young and we could just chalk it up to a bad night and learn from it. I was so proud that they could take that advice and move on to our last event and finish the evening strong.”

Senior Hailey Gillen scored a 7.40 in the vault, a 6.30 on floors and a 6.25 on the balance beam. Another Blackhawk, senior Madrona Murdock, earned scores of 5.275 on the beam and a 5.250 on the floor exercise.

“We are a young team with just two seniors, Hailey and Madrona, that don’t have a lot of varsity experience…I relied on them to help the younger girls get the jitters out,” McClelland said.

Young Blackhawks who made their varsity debuts were Katrina Koppa on the floor, bars and vault; Kenzey Kreuzer bars and beam; and Kayden Cramer bars and vault, placing seventh with a score of 8.10.

West Salem area co-op won the meet with 132.30, host Holmen was next with 122.875, Viroqua was third with 113.825 and Wisconsin Rapids fourth with 104.850.

McClelland said after the meet that, “the team had practiced for a meet that would be JV competing first on an event followed by the varsity, but we found out Thursday morning (day of the meet) that Holmen was unable to hire enough judges to compete in that format and we had to adjust that evening to having JV on one event and then switch quickly to have varsity on another; our mindset was a little rattled, but I felt the girls did a nice job adjusting at the last minute.”

For that reason, McClelland said she would like to encourage any former gymnasts or anyone who loves the sport to consider becoming a WIAA certified judge.

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