Finishing strong

Maddy Bronson, who was named the all-SLC gymnast of the year, medaled at state and led the Demons back to state prominence. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


By Mike Ramczyk

From 2011 to 2014, the BUW (Burlington-Badger-Wilmot-Union Grove-Williams Bay) gymnastics team was at the top of the state stage, placing second four straight years, including missing out on a state title by only .05 points in 2014.

With the “Big Three” of Bailey Fitzpatrick, Jenna Fitzpatrick and Molly Benavides, the Demons competed with the best of the best.

The next four years, BUW missed out on the team state tournament altogether.

But head coach Andrea Chart has returned the Demons to the top, as BUW placed second at team state March 1 in Wisconsin Rapids, its second top-two finish of the decade.

The next day, BUW had Maddy Bronson and Annie Murphy medal at the individual state meet.

While Franklin won the state championship again, its fourth consecutive title, with 148.2833 points, the Demons scored an impressive 144.2167, easily beating out third-place Hartford (142.25).

For BUW, which is better known as BBW, it was a fitting end to the large co-op squad, which may have to be divided as large co-ops will no longer be allowed by the WIAA next year.

“It was very surreal to be up there for us with several co-ops knowing that this was our last hurrah as a team,” Chart said. “Of course we wish it wouldn’t ever have to happen but, unfortunately, it really is the end of an era.”

“I think we performed very well. To walk away with individual medals and the runner-up trophy and medals is obviously a huge success and a memory that the girls will carry with them forever.”

Bronson took third on the vault at the individual meet, and Murphy tied for fifth on beam.

“Maddy had a great meet on floor, vault and bars and struggled a bit on beam,” Chart said. “It was heartbreaking for her and to watch as it put her out of All-Around contention, but she had such a great year, and I hope she can go back one the sting goes away and realize how much she was able to accomplish in a single season.”

At team state, the girls started off strong on bars, especially Malia Bronson, who Chart said had her best set all year. Ava Trent, Regan Cassidy and Maddy Bronson followed with strong routines.

Then on beam, even with two falls and a few wobbles, BUW recorded the highest score in Division 1 with a 36.55.

Led by Malia Bronson’s 9.133, the Demons tallied a solid 35.95 on floor, then Kylie Kramer and Maddy Bronson shined on vault to give the team a strong score of 35.667.

It was a season of accomplishments for the Demons, who won their 10th consecutive Southern Lakes Conference championship.

For Chart and assistant coach Jordin Miller, it was a season to remember.

With uncertainty surrounding next season and decisions being made soon, BUW can hold its 2018-19 season as a successful end of an era.

“This past season was nothing short of amazing,” Chart said. “Jordie and I were fortunate enough to have a group of girls that are just as fun and caring as they are talented. We set several goals and crushed them, walked away with some hardware from almost every invite, advanced the team and four individuals to state at sectionals and took home several medals.”

“It was a season that not many coaches or athletes are lucky enough to be a part of, and I do not take it for granted for one second.”