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Miners’ Pakkanen state finals qualifier

March 4, 2012
Journal Sports Staff , The Mining Journal

ROCKFORD - Negaunee sophomore Sara Pakkanen continued her amazing high school gymnastics season by qualifying for every event in the state finals at the regionals held in Rockford on Saturday.

Pakkanen, an exchange student from Finland, finished third in the all-around with 36.50 points, about two points out of first place.

That included her winning the balance beam with a score of 9.65, 0.15 of a point ahead of the runner-up, according to Miners coach Eyre Becker.

Article Photos

Sara Pakkanen of Negaunee competes in the balance beam at a high school gymnastics meet in Marquette on Jan. 19. Competing at the regional tournament downstate on Saturday, Pakkanen qualified for the state finals in all four events, chalking up a victory in the balance beam with a score of 9.65. (Journal file photo by Matt Keiser)

Pakkanen was also fourth in the floor exercise with 9.30 and fifth in both vault (9.20) and uneven bars (8.35).

She advances to Saturday's individual state finals meet at Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills High School.

Three other Negaunee gymnasts also participated in the vault at the regionals - junior Katie Torreano and sophomore Leni Erhardt scored 8.05, while junior Katie McGreaham had 7.95. Each finished in the top half of the field in that event, Becker said.

For Marquette, junior Avery Rochester participated in three events but didn't qualify for the finals in her second trip to the regionals.

While places beyond the top eight that make the state finals weren't immediately available Saturday, Redettes coach Christine Lakenen thought that Rochester only missed one or two finals berths by a few tenths of a point.

Rochester scored 8.6 in the beam, 8.2 in vault and 7.125 on the bars.

Sophomore teammate Mikayla Mitchell, in her first regional appearance, scored 6.85 on the beam.



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