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Negaunee gymnasts working toward final meet of season

ESCANABA — The Escanaba gymnasts moved a step closer to qualifying for the MHSAA team regional meet here Wednesday night, posting a 125.49-80.25 victory over the Negaunee Miners.

“This is a season high for us and probably our skill level,” Esky coach Theresa Pascoe said. “We had four falls on (balance) beam tonight, which is a far cry from the 11 we had downstate last weekend. Our (uneven) bars are getting stronger, only we still need to connect on our skills.”

Esky needs to score 120 or more points in next Wednesday’s Great Northern Conference meet at Negaunee to qualify as a team.

“I’m real excited,” said freshman Aliyah Mylander, who placed third in all-around with 28.65 points. “I’m very confident we’ll get the last one. I’m really pumped for that. I’m very proud with how we’re doing as a team.”

Esky junior Lizzy Sliva topped the all-around standings at 31.875, and freshman Bridget Bichler was runner-up with 30.35.

Sliva won vault with a personal-best 8.95 points and bars (7.85), placed second on beam (7.825) and fourth in floor exercise (7.25).

“I was shooting for nine on vault,” she said. “I felt accomplished after that, but now I want to keep improving to get up to my goal. Tonight’s all-around score is about my average, although I’m shooting for 32.”

Bichler qualified in two events, placing third on beam (7.75) and fourth on bars (6.8). She was also third on floor (7.65) and fourth in vault (8.15).

Junior Caitlyn Davenport added firsts on floor (8.5) and beam (8.02) and a third on bars (7.2).

Negaunee senior Skye Clinton took fourth in all-around (25.3), and classmate Martha Rutherford was fifth (25.2).

“We’ve definitely improved in vault from the last time we were here,” Negaunee coach Eyre Becker said. “We had a couple 7s on vault and a seven on beam. We also had some struggles tonight. We’re suffering from a lack of confidence.

“This is the second to the last meet, and we’re still not at our peak. We scored 12 points fewer than we did here before, which is a little disappointing overall. It will be nice to have a little time before our next meet. We should still be fresh and won’t forget how to compete.”

Pascoe was happy with the sportsmanship displayed by both teams during the meet.

“I’m so proud of all the girls,” she said. “We finished with floor early, and our girls went over and started cheering with the Negaunee girls. It was great sportsmanship both ways.”

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