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Gymnasts surpass season high in finale

Natalie Backmann received a 7.20 on balance beam in the Panthers' regular-season finale against Bemidji Thursday night. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

James Sanchez was pleasantly surprised following the regular-season finale of the Park Rapids-Nevis gymnastics team.

The Panthers' head coach was hoping his team could fulfill its season goal of surpassing 120 points in the final dual meet. Led by season highs in three events, Park Rapids accomplished that goal in a 142.35-121.85 loss to Bemidji Thursday night at the Area High School gym.

Park Rapids used marks of 30.85 in floor exercise, 31.00 on balance beam, 27.85 on uneven parallel bars and 33.15 in vault for a 122.85. The Panthers were given a 1.0-point deduction when the start of the meet was delayed 15 minutes. Despite that deduction, Sanchez was pleased with how the final home appearance of the season went.

"I was kind of surprised by our score, but it was a good kind of surprise," said Sanchez, whose team topped the previous season high of 119.55 points. "We had some ups and downs during the meet, but I was completely ecstatic with the results. One of our big goals this season was to get a 120 or above and we did that. It was nice to end the regular season and our final home meet on such a high note."

The Panthers opened on floor where Halle Landstrom's 8.20, Erin Tooker's 7.70, Morgan Koppelman's 7.50 and Katie Eischens' 7.45 topped the previous high of 30.70. Bemidji's Lauren Lundquist took first with a 9.15.

Tooker's 8.50, Landstrom's 7.95, Alex Kirlin's 7.35 and Natalie Backmann's 7.20 led the Panthers on beam where Lundquist claimed top honors with a 9.10. Park Rapids' previous high in that event was a 29.85.

Bemidji's Tatum Offerdahl led the field on bars with a 9.35 while Eischens' 7.30, Tooker's 7.05, Koppelman's 6.90 and Landstrom's 6.60 paced the Panthers, who missed topping their previous best of 28.10.

Park Rapids closed on vault with Landstrom's 8.80, Tooker's 8.20, Brianna Nelson's 8.15 and Koppelman's 8.00 pushing the team score past 120 and surpassing the previous high in that event of 32.95. Offerdahl and Lauren Berg shared top honors with 9.05s.

Offerdahl earned all-around honors with a 36.20 while Landstrom was third with a 31.55, Tooker took fourth with a 31.45 in her all-around debut and Koppelman was fifth with a 29.20.

Bemidji used marks of 35.95 in vault, 35.85 in floor, 35.60 on beam and 34.95 on bars to break the school record. The previous school record was a 141.60 set during a dual against Detroit Lakes in the previous meet.

Now the Panthers will prepare for the Section 8A meet, which will be held at Perham on Saturday (Feb. 17).

"The judges told me after the meet that they've seen us improve throughout the season, which was nice to hear," said Sanchez, whose team ended the regular season with an 0-7 record in dual meets. "All the hard work is paying off. Everything seems to be clicking right now. This should give us a good momentum boost going into sections."

Bemidji 142.35, Park Rapids 121.85

Floor exercise: 1, Lundquist, B, 9.15. 2, Schmidt, B, 8.95. 3, Lucas, B, 8.90. 4, Offerdahl, B, 8.85. 5, Landstrom, PR, 8.20. 6, Morin, B, 7.85. 7, E. Tooker, PR, 7.70. 8, Koppelman, PR, 7.50. 9, Eischens, PR, 7.45. 10, Kirlin, PR, 6.90. JV: Nelson, PR, 7.10; Litzau, PR, 6.90; Ulvin, PR, 6.50; Backmann, PR, 6.00; Nielsen, PR, 5.50; Dennis, PR, 4.40.

Balance beam: 1, Lundquist, B, 9.10. 2 (tie), Offerdahl, B, and Lucas, B, 8.95. 4, Schmidt, B, 8.60. 5, E. Tooker, PR, 8.50. 6, Corradi, B, 8.45. 7, Landstrom, PR, 7.95. 8, Kirlin, PR, 7.35. 9, Backmann, PR, 7.20. 10, Koppelman, PR, 6.80. JV: Ulvin, PR, 6.80; Nevela, PR, 5.70; Holmer, PR, 5.50; Billing-Kelly, PR, 5.40; Nielsen, PR, 5.30; Dennis, PR, 5.20; Hagen, PR, 4.90; Litzau, PR, 4.80.

Uneven parallel bars: 1, Offerdahl, B, 9.35. 2, Tesch, B, 8.85. 3, Schmidt, B, 8.55. 4, Berg, B, 8.20. 5, Lundquist, B, 7.70. 6, Eischens, PR, 7.30. 7, E. Tooker, PR, 7.05. 8, Koppelman, PR, 6.90. 9, Landstrom, PR, 6.60. 10, Backmann, PR, 5.35. JV: Litzau, PR, 5.60; Holmer, PR, 5.20.

Vault: 1 (tie), Offerdahl, B, and Berg, B, 9.05. 3, Lundquist, B, 9.00. 4, Lucas, B, 8.85. 5, Landstrom, PR, 8.80. 6, E. Tooker, PR, 8.20. 7, Nelson, PR, 8.15. 8, Koppelman, PR, 8.00. 9, Corradi, B, 7.85. 10, Backmann, PR, 7.80. JV: Nielsen, PR, 8.20; Litzau, PR, 8.00; Dennis, PR, 7.10; Hagen, PR, 7.10; Holmer, PR, 6.40.

All-around: 1, Offerdahl, B, 36.20. 2, Lundquist, B, 34.95. 3, Landstrom, PR, 31.55. 4, E. Tooker, PR, 31.45. 5, Koppelman, PR, 29.20. JV: Litzau, PR, 25.30.