The air was full of chalk dust and bodies as the Brainerd Warriors gymnastics team accomplished a feat they've been striving for all season long.
The last time Brainerd competed it scored 139.1 points against St. Cloud Tech. A good number but a number that head coach Dave Maras thought was a little low considering the potential of his team.
Against the Willmar Cardinals Thursday night the Warriors put it all together and scored a season-best 141.55 to beat the Cardinals by 2.6 points.
"It's always a goal to get 140 because it's pretty close to perfect," said senior captain Molly Zauhar. "It's always something that we strive for. It says a lot about this team. 140 is a mark that all teams go for and it's really awesome to get it this early in the season."
"It's a big deal," said Tara Schmidt, who placed third in the all-around. "It's a major milestone when you break 140 for the year. We shattered it today so that's a big accomplishment for us."
The Warriors did it with depth, going lower than seventh place only three times in four events.
"We had some great performances tonight," said Maras. "Seventh-grader Kathleen Lorenz did a great job pulling off a 9.2 (on the balance beam). Molly Smith just nailed her vault and we got a lot of help from Zauhar and Schmidt."
"I did the best I've done all season," said Zauhar about her performance on the bars. "I got an 8.45 and I've been working on my overshoot, trying to keep my feet up and today I did the best overshoot I've done all year. I stuck my dismount and that's always been kind of a challenge for me."
"We had a hot night tonight," said Maras. "We went for it tonight and we got what we deserved.
"We got depth, we got experience and we got youth. We have a nice mixture of both. We got some really good young kids and we have some seasoned veterans. They kind of feed off of each other. The chemistry of this team is just excellent and that's why they're getting better."
"After vault I said to some of the girls 'I think this is going to be our night," said Zauhar about eclipsing the 140-point mark. "Obviously there was some points lost here and there but I think we just focused in on what we had to do.
"We knew Willmar was going to have some tough routines but we just went out there and did our best."
Willmar did have some good routines taking first place in every event except for the uneven bars which Amanda Rau won with a 9.1.
They took the top two spots in the all-around followed by Schmidt who finished with a score of 34.65.
"I could have done better on beam," said Schmidt, who scored an 8.5 for sixth place on the beam. "I had a fall but I haven't fallen for a couple of meets so I don't know if I was due or what."
The Warriors are now 4-0 in the Central Lakes Conference and only have meets against Little Falls (1-3) and Sartell (4-0), giving them a good shot at the conference title.
Brainerd 141.55, Willmar 138.95
Uneven parallel bars -- 1-B-Amanda Rau (9.1), 3-B-Brianna Lester (8.75), 4-B-Molly Zauhar, 6-B-Crystal Yaunick, 8-B-Tara Schmidt
Balance beam -- 1-W-Jenny Quick (9.5), 3-B-Kathleen Lorenz (9.2), 4-B-Shayna McCulloch, 6-B-Schmidt, 7-B-Rau, 10-B-Katherine Wilcox.
Floor exercise -- 1-W-Quick (9.3), 2-B-Yaunick (9.25), 3-B-Molly Smith (9.15), 4-B-Schmidt, 5-B-Amanda Johnson, 7-B-Annalisa Aakhus
Vault -- 1-W-Lacey Kleist (9.55), 2-B-Smith (9.40), 3-B-Schmidt (9.1) 4-B-Rau, 5-B-Zauhar, 10-B-Annie Bahr.
All-around -- 1-W-Quick (36.05), 3-B-Schmidt (34.65)
Conference -- B 4-0, W 3-4. Overall -- B 4-0, W 1-3. Next meet -- Brainerd at Lakeville Invite Saturday at 11 a.m.
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