Entering the last home gymnastics meet of her high school career, senior Amanda Johnson wanted to go out with a roar.
In Brainerd's 145.85 to 121.10 non-conference gymnastics win over Grand Rapids Thursday, Johnson did just that as she scored 9.75 on floor exercise, breaking Crystal Savage's 1982 school record of 9.7.
"I was trying not to cry," Johnson said when she heard score. "It was my last home meet forever. I really wanted to go out there and prove to everyone, and to myself, that hard work pays off. I've been really working hard for this one and it finally came."
Warriors coach Dave Maras pointed out that Johnson is starting to peak and that it may be difficult for any judge to find a flaw in her routine.
"Amanda's floor routine has been great all year," Maras said. "In the last few weeks she's really come on strong. The thing about her routine is that it's impeccably clean. Everything is done the way it's supposed to be done. I'm really happy for her."
The Warriors thrived despite the limited availability of star Kathleen Lorenz as she battles a sore hip. Lorenz competed in one event, the uneven bars, and scored a 9.15.
"We didn't want to do anything to aggravate Kathleen's hip," said Maras. "She didn't really like the idea of sitting out but we'd rather have her healthy for later. But then Katie Perpich had a great night."
A great night is an understatement. Perpich went out and picked up any slack as she won balance beam, bars and vault and placed second on floor on her way to capturing all-around honors with a score of 37.55.
The Warriors started the meet with a 36.60 on vault and followed with a 37.15 on the uneven parallel bars.
On the bars, Brainerd received solid routines from freshman Kara Rutman and junior Lauren Trapp. Rutman scored a 9.25, good for second place, while Trapp tallied a 9.10. Perpich put an exclamation mark on the bars as she soared to a 9.65.
"I can't say enough about Lauren Trapp," Maras said. "She started out from scratch this year and just kept getting better and better. We tweaked Kara's routine a little bit just a few days ago and she put it all together."
Another Warrior that had a big night in Lorenz's absence was Maggie Freiday. The eighth-grader scored 9.45 on vault, 9.2 on floor and 8.8 on beam.
"Maggie had a pretty good night," said Maras. "She hit beam for a pretty nice score and the same on vault and floor. You watch her on beam and on floor and she's a really powerful girl. She was nervous, which is good because she was anxious to get out there and do her thing."
The Warriors will be looking to do their thing Feb. 15 when they travel to Willmar for the Section 8, Class 2A meet.
"We don't have any choice, we have to be ready," Maras said. "It's basically, 'Ready or not here we come,' so we'll be prepared. There is no tomorrow and we can't think any other way."
Warriors note: Maras said Lorenz was named Central Lakes Conference champion on beam, floor and vault and all-conference on bars.
Brainerd 145.85, Grand Rapids 121.10
Uneven parallel bars -- 1-Katie Perpich (B) 9.65, 2-Kara Rutman (B) 9.25, 3-Kathleen Lorenz (B) 9.15, 4-Lauren Trapp (B) 9.10, 5-Stephanie Petersen (B) 8.50.
Balance beam -- 1-Perpich (B) 9.10, 2-Maggie Freiday (B) 8.80, 3-Daniel Arnold (B) 8.70, 4-Tessa Helland (B) 8.40, 5-Amanda Johnson (B) 8.30.
Floor exercise -- 1-Johnson (B) 9.75, 2-Perpich (B) 9.35, 3-Freiday (B) 9.20, 5-Annie Bahr (B) 8.80.
Vault -- 1-Perpich (B) 9.45, 2-Freiday (B) 9.45, 3-Johnson (B) 9.05, 4-Jenny Carson (B) 8.65.
All-around -- 1-Perpich (B) 37.55
Conference -- B 7-0. Overall -- B 10-0. Next meet -- Brainerd in section meet Feb. 15 at Willmar.
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