The BUW gymnastics squad won the SLC title, its 9th straight, Friday at Waterford Union High School. Pictured are (from left) Malia Bronson (Williams Bay High School), Ava Trent (Lake Geneva Badger), Regan Cassidy (Badger), Carly Schaefer (Union Grove), Mari Trent (Badger) and Jessica Zeitler (Wilmot). (Dwight Beuthling/SLN)


By Troy Sparks

Sports Correspondent

Everything worked according to the game plan for the BUW gymnastic team at the Southern Lakes Conference at Waterford, Feb. 16. Dominant performances in all four apparatuses gave the Demons the championship and the big trophy that coach Andrea Chart carried down the hall in her right arm.

“They actually did very well,” Chart said. “That was the first meet all season. So, it was a perfect time that we hit on all the apparatuses. We got a season high. The energy, they just kept throughout this week going into this meet. I knew it was going to be a good meet, but I didn’t expect it to be this good.”

The Demons won the meet going away by more than eight points over second place Elkhorn (144.1500 to 136.0000). Jefferson (129.4500) finished in third place. Host Waterford (129.2750) and Whitewater (117.3000) were fourth and fifth, respectively. This is the third conference championship in a row for Chart and the ninth straight title for the program.

BUW swept the first four places on the balance beam, their first rotation of the night. Freshman Malia Bronson led the varsity with an average score of 9.450. Sophomore Regan Cassidy followed Bronson with an 8.925. Freshman Ava Trent got an 8.800, which was good for third place, and junior Jessica Zeitler had a score of 8.725 (fourth place).

Bronson led the way for BUW on the floor exercise (9.375). Cassidy was half a point behind (9.325). Junior Mari Trent (9.075, fifth place), Ava Trent (8.900, sixth) and Zeitler (8.875, seventh) also finished in the top ten.

On the vaults, BUW took the top four spots. Ava Trent’s score of 9.100 gave her the win over Cassidy (8.950), Mari Trent (8.900) and Bronson (8.750). Junior Carly Schaefer finished in a two-way tie for tenth (8.250).

Cassidy went from runner-up in the beam, floor and vault to taking the top spot on the uneven bars with a high score of 9.525. Ava Trent was a distant second (9.150). Bronson (8.650) was fourth. Zeitler ended up in sixth (8.550) and Mari Trent was seventh (8.500).

Cassidy led a clean sweep for BUW for the all-around title with a score of 36.725 points. Bronson (36.225) and Ava Trent (35.950) were second and third in the all-around.

Senior Grace Bahr won the all-around event and the uneven bars for the junior varsity, and BUW won the JV team championship. Schaefer finished second on the bars for the JV and sophomore Molly Fox took third on the beam.

“Mari has really stepped up her game in the last two weeks,” Chart said. “I told her, ‘I don’t know what you’re eating. I don’t know how much you are sleeping but keep doing it because you look so strong. You look so powerful.’ And I think her spark, I think, has sparked everybody.”

Cassidy has improved all season, and now she will take the momentum as a conference all-around champion into trying to qualify for state.

“I feel good,” she said. “The season’s been really fun, and I’m glad that I decided to do high school (gymnastics). In every meet, I’m more confident and I’m hoping that we make it to state if we stay strong and hit at sectionals.”

The stakes are higher for BUW entering the sectionals at Waukesha West this week, and Chart hopes that the team is ready for the challenge.

“It’s really going to be on (the judges) critiquing every little thing, every little jump, every little toe point,” she said. Obviously, we’re not starting to learn new skills going into (the sectionals). So it’s going to be getting their confidence level up so that they know that they can hit (the right routines) and they can do everything as perfect as they can.”