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Gymnastics: Irish improve to 4-0 in league

The scoring changes in high school gymnastics this season have put an emphasis on top-of-the-line skills.

The result has put higher-end gymnasts a step ahead. Gymnasts able to earn the higher points assigned to more difficult routines benefit from the changes.

Rosemount coach Jason Passeri thought his team would be hurt by the switch in scoring, which has seen scores drop around the state. The Irish returned a relatively inexperienced squad, at least as far as high school varsity meets were concerned.

While Rosemount doesn't have the top-end athletes its had in the past, it is making up for it in a simple way -- overall team depth.

The Irish beat Lakeville North 136.85-136.575 last week to go to 4-0 in South Suburban Conference meets. Of the four conference wins, Rosemount has beaten two opponents ranked in the top 10 while it sits ranked No. 17.

"Things are going pretty well," Passeri said. "That's why you have to compete in the meets."

Lakeville North was ranked No. 10 in the latest poll, but the Irish added another close victory.

It didn't always look that way.

Rosemount trailed 36.3-34.1 after its first event, the vault.

Kathy Aune led the Irish on the vault with an 8.95, good for fourth place. Jana Elliot scored an 8.6 for fifth place.

"Our JV actually outscored our varsity on the vault," Passeri said. "I don't think that's ever happened before."

Rosemount turned things around on the uneven bars.

The Irish scored 33.4 points as a team. Kailey Askew was first with an 8.825. Claire Holtz was second, scoring an 8.65.

"It was one of our best days on the bars," Passeri said.

The Panthers appeared as if they would retake the lead after the third event, but Rosemount had Holtz and Abby Nelson step up when needed on the balance beam.

Holtz won the event with a 9.25 and Nelson was second with a 9.05. It was the fourth straight meet Nelson has scored over 9.0 on the beam.

With a small lead entering the final event, the Irish needed to have a strong performance during the floor exercise.

"(Lakeville North) is probably one of the best teams in the state on the floor," Passeri said. "The prior meet they went 37.95. They went to the floor first and had a 37.15. So, we knew we had to do something on the floor to keep the lead."

Jenna Schlukebier scored a 9.0 to take fifth place. Holtz and Askew each had 9.0s as Rosemount scored a 35.775, just enough to hold on for the win.

Holtz won the all-around with a combined score of 35.15. It was her second straight win in the all-around after taking the top spot against Farmington.

Askew was third in the all-around with a 33.6.

The Irish compete in the Apple Valley quad on Saturday. Rosemount hosts Apple Valley in a conference meet on Tuesday, Jan. 25.