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Franklin Combined gymnastics team looks to send seniors out on a high note

Olson, Zurowski and Balcerak to lead way

Dec. 18, 2012

Once more, with feeling.

That is the situation for the two-time WIAA Division 1 state champion Franklin-Muskego-Oak Creek-Whitnall girls gymnastics team as the local co-op wants to send eight title-winning seniors out on a high note.

"This should be a fun season," said veteran coach Katie Moore. "It's a culmination of a lot of hard work. I tell you, by the end of the season, there will be a lot of sad moms out there (laughs).

"But seriously, it is a different outlook. These kids are not worried about their legacy. They've won two state titles. More to the point is that they want to leave everything out there, because this'll be the last gymnastics for a lot of them.

"No regrets."

The locals finished second to old nemesis Burlington in the Waterford Emerald Classic on Dec. 8 and then won a five-team conference event on Saturday.

"It's going to be a race again, just like it was last year," said Moore, noting that FMOW was not able to beat Burlington until the state meet last season. "We're still keeping it (state) as a goal, but we're going to give up a little bit on the front end of the season so we can work hard on conditioning and peak at the end."

And it'll all be old hat for the locals, who will build around a senior dominated line-up that includes two individual state champs. Sammie Olson, the 2012 state balance beam winner, will be an all-around for the team as will 2011 state vault champ Lauren Zurowski.

Other seniors include Rachel Tillman (floor exercise and vault); Becca Teska (vault, bars and balance beam); Paige Schreiber (all-around); Melanie Pearson (floor and beam); Shannon Hein (vault, bars and floor exercise) and Alyssa Behrendt (bars and beam).

A junior who will help out is letterwinner Jessica Kossoris (vault, beam and bars) while freshman all-around Sam Balcerak is already making a big impact on the team.

Depth and maturity will be the strengths of the team this winter.

"They're working very hard," said Moore. "We're emphasizing that doing your best every day and working towards being your best every day will bring about the best results.

"And we're not worried about that because we have a lot of self-motivated girls on this team. They know how to get it done. We're hitting the weights two nights a week and spending three hours each night in the gym."

FMOW turned in a fine 142.85 mark at the Emerald (Burlington won with 145.7) and then won the conference meet with a 143.625 effort. The conference event was a lot of fun, Moore said.

She said it was the first meet the team has been able to host a meet at its training gym of Altius in two years. A lot of fans turned out for the event and that was a big motivator for the team, said Moore.

In the conference meet, Balcerak won vault (9.6), floor (9.3) and beam (9.075) in leading the way while Olson was second in the all-around (35.225) and won the bars (9.0).

Other good efforts included seconds from Behrendt on the bars (8.775) and Zurowski on vault (9.55) and floor exercise (9.225). Meanwhile, Teska was third on beam (8.95), while Behrendt dropped down to junior varsity on beam and turned in the team's best overall effort on the event with a winning mark of 9.1.

The team is off until Jan. 3 when it visits Mukwonago in a dual meet. In the interim, Moore is looking to get a lot of good training in.

"We're going to be taking a lot of pictures along the way here," she said. "Hopefully, we'll have a lot of fun and a lot of success, too."

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