Ava Trent performs a floor exercise during a Jan. 9 Burlington-Badger gymnastics meet held at Karcher Middle School. She helped BBG capture a season high at a recent meet (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press).

Full varsity lineup returns, steps up at large tournament

By Mike Ramczyk

The Burlington-Badger (BBG) gymnastics squad is back at full strength, and the Demons’ talent was on full display Saturday at the Spartan Invite hosted by Madison Memorial.

Competing in the Green division, the Demons scored a season-high score of 137.15 to take second place out of eight teams.

The score bested their previous high by a rare leap of six points, something they attained in the very first meet of the year.

Wilmot-Union Grove won the division with a 140.25.

Not surprisingly, BBG head coach Andrea Chart was impressed by her squad.

“We have not had our full varsity lineup since early January so the girls have been really frustrated thinking they were a lower-level team than they actually are. At the Spartan Invite we were finally full strength,” Chart said.

“The Spartan Invite was a really good meet for us. We had hiccups on every single event, but we didn’t let us deter that going into the next event, which I think was key. The girls kept a positive attitude and focused on the goals we had set forth at the beginning of the meet and it was really fun to watch them persevere and continue to hit those goals.”

BBG has its full varsity lineup of Ava Trent, Kylie Kramer, Addie Welch, Ani Grothe, Lauren Milligan and Kaleigh Bauer.

Trent and Kramer provided a 1-2 punch, placing third (35.925) and seventh (35.025), respectively.

On bars, Trent won with a 9.4, while Kramer was second with a 9.1.

Kramer took fourth on floor with a 9.125.

Trent placed fifth on vault with a score of 8.9.

On beam, Milligan was fifth with an 8.9.

“Honestly, all six of them did (impress me),” Chart said. “It really was a team effort to get that high score, just as this entire season has been. Our ‘veterans’ Ava (Trent) and Kylie (Kramer) continue to be our 1-2 punch and produce the high scores on all four events, but our 3, 4, and 5 girls are working their butts off every week to get new skills that give their routines more bonus and a higher start value and ultimately that is what has allowed our team score to rise like it has.”

Chart is excited the team is peaking at the right time, with conference and playoffs right around the corner.

It hasn’t been an easy transition after BBW gymnastics split into Wilmot-Union Grove and Burlington-Badger this year, but the girls are improving each week and making large gains in terms of routine difficulty.

“In general I would say the team is starting to peak at the perfect time – the beginning of February,” Chart said. “All six girls are fighting nagging injuries, so it’s going to be a mental battle to persevere through those and continue to get better, however, they all want the success for themselves and for the team so they are pushing each other every day and making each rep count.”

“We are definitely focusing on quality over quantity right now so we can give our bodies as much time to rest as possible. The overall progress is astounding; what some of our new girls are competing now compared to the beginning of the season is really rare to see, much less see it from multiple athletes.”

BBG competes Tuesday against Waterford, and also has the Nordy Invite in Mukwonago, which Chart says is the last big “test” before the Southern Lakes Conference tournament at Elkhorn.

The team then hosts WIAA Division 1 sectionals the following week.

“As far as we have come, we still have a lot to improve,” Chart said. “There are still a few girls that are trying to learn new skills to put in routines, and overall we all need to clean up our form on each event so that come sectional time we are getting the maximum score we can from each individual and hopefully take one of those top two spots to allow us to advance to state again.”