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Gymnastics: Floor, vault spring Irish to fourth at state meet

The Rosemount gymnastics team lines up after finishing fourth at the Class 2A state meet Friday night at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. The Irish competed at state for the first time in 21 years.

Rosemount’s memorable gymnastics season came to a fitting conclusion over the weekend at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.

Competing in the program’s first state meet in 21 years, the Irish followed up their second straight undefeated conference season by besting their spot in the state rankings with a fourth-place finish in the eight-team Class 2A field.

Second-ranked Roseville upset No. 1-ranked Northfield 151.8-150.8 for the team title, while fourth-ranked Wayzata settled into third with 148.650 points. The Irish came up about a point short of their section-winning score, but still edged third-ranked St. Cloud Tech in the battle for fourth, 145.775-145.2.

It was a case of finally getting over the hump for the Irish, who finished second in their section eight times in Jason Passeri’s 16 years as head coach. Nine of the previous 10 years, the team came up short of state despite being ranked in the top 10.

“We have always been in such a tough section. Some of those section losses came by less than a point. We will never forget those close ones,” Passeri said. “This trip was very special and emotional for a lot of us.… The night we won the section I received around 50 e-mails and texts from alumni and alumni parents congratulating our team’s success.”

Once the Irish were through battling Friday’s icy road conditions, they quickly showed they belonged. They turned in the meet’s third best team scores in each of their first two events, earning a 37.6 in the vault and a 37.8 in the floor exercise.

In the vault, all five Rosemount gymnasts broke 9.0. Meghan Creese led the way with a 9.575, followed by Josey Schlie with a 9.4, Shannon McCoy with a 9.35, Abby Nelson with a 9.275 and Kailey Askew with a 9.225.

Schlie led the team in the floor exercise, scoring a 9.65. McCoy was right behind with a 9.425 and Nelson and Askew added scores of 9.4 and 9.3, respectively.

“We were very excited after two events. Then we struggled on bars,” Passeri said. “That has been our weakness all year. We will definitely be doing a lot of bars this summer.”

The Irish scored 34.425 in the event, led by Schlie’s 9.025.

Three gymnasts then stuck their balance beam routines, and the Irish closed out the meet with a score of 35.975 that was good enough for fourth. Schlie scored a 9.475, followed by Nelson with a 9.175 and Creese with a 9.05.

Schlie, McCoy and Creese returned to the Sports Pavilion a night later to compete in the individual portion of the Class 2A state meet.

Schlie competed in the all-around for the second year in a row and placed 19th with a score of 36.8625. Her top performance came in the floor exercise where she finished 10th with a score of 9.625. Schlie was also 13th in the vault (9.5) and 15th in the balance beam (9.225).

Creese was 10th in the vault with a score of 9.525 and McCoy placed 19th in the beam with a 9.075.

“Hopefully all this success will motivate the girls for next season,” Passeri said. “The state meet was a great experience for us.”