The first competition of a season tells coaches where a team is at and where they need to go to improve.
Brainerd gymnastics coach Dave Maras found out the Warriors are ready to pick up where they left off last season when they won the Section 8, Class 2A title and a state tournament berth. The Warriors captured 1-2 finishes in every event Tuesday to roll past the Little Falls Flyers 139.72 to 122.80 in a Central Lakes Conference meet.
"Normally, we open in the middle 130s and we end up at the low 140s," Maras said. "I don't want to predict, I want to wait and see. I think the kids can figure it out where we can go."
That score included some outstanding performances along with some first-night jitters and early season mistakes.
"It was a typical first meet," Maras said. "We had some great stuff tonight and we had some stuff that happens in a first meet.
"But still, when you score 140 points in the first meet, with the mistakes we had, I'll take that any day."
Warrior Kathleen Lorenz won the all-around with a score of 35.575 despite not winning any event. Her best finishes were second place in the floor exercise with an 8.85 and on the balance beam with a 9.025.
"Katie Lorenz was steady all night," Maras said.
Molly Smith led the Warriors with a pair of first-place finishes. She won the vault with a 9.35 and beam with a 9.2. Her score on the beam is 1.5 points higher than her best last season.
"I attribute that to coach Cynthia (Rogers)," Smith said. "She taught me that routine and she just drills us hard. I just have good coaches who make me work hard."
Brainerd's Amanda Johnson won the floor exercise with a 9.3 and Brianna Lester captured the uneven parallel bars with a 9.35.
"I was really impressed with Amanda Johnson's floor routine," Maras said. "It's a whole new floor routine."
Katie Perpich rounded out the top Brainerd gymnasts with second-place finishes on the vault and bars. Shae Tabatt led Little Falls by taking third on the beam with an 8.7.
Scoring so well despite the mistakes has the Warriors aiming high, ready to make a statement.
"It says that we can be state champions this year," Smith said. "And we left a lot of points out there.
"We're a lot better than that. This is our first meet and we'll get better than that. We had fun and that's what counts."
Brainerd 139.72, Little Falls 122.80
Vault -- 1-Molly Smith (B) 9.35, 2-Katie Perpich (B) 9.1, 3-Kathleen Lorenz (B) 8.85, 4-Jessie Ylitalo (LF) 8.4, 5-Shae Tabatt (LF) 8.35.
Floor exercise -- 1-Amanda Johnson (B) 9.3, 2-Lorenz 8.85, 3-Perpich 8.75, 4-Tabatt 8.7, 5-Smith 8.6.
Balance beam -- 1-Smith 9.2, 2-Lorenz 9.025, 3-Tabatt 8.7, 4-Colleen Roach (LF) 8.0, 5-Perpich 7.9.
Uneven parallel bars -- 1-Brianna Lester (B) 9.35, 2-Perpich 9.3, 3-Lorenz 8.85, 4-Tabatt, Beth Prokott (LF) 7.9.
All-around -- 1-Lorenz 35.575, 2-Perpich 35.05, 3-Smith 34.65, 4-Roach 33.65, 5-Tabatt 32.3.
Conference -- Brainerd 1-0, Little Falls 0-1. Overall -- Brainerd 1-0. Next meet -- Brainerd hosts Brainerd quadrangular Saturday 11 a.m.
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