Rhinelander’s Lilli Bishop performs on uneven bars during a GNC dual against Medford at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium Tuesday, Feb. 11. Bishop scored a career-high 30.1 in the all-around. (Jamie Taylor/River News)
2/13/2020 7:33:00 AM Medford gymnasts beat RHS, take over 1st in GNC Small
The Rhinelander High School gymnastics team put forth its best showing of the season Tuesday night, but it was not enough against Medford in a battle for first place in the GNC Small division.
The Raiders swept the top three positions in every event and defeated Rhinelander 127.525-115.075 at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium. Both teams were 3-0 in the GNC Small entering the meet. Medford will have sole possession of first place entering next Saturday's GNC meet hosted by Chequamegon High School in Park Falls. Rhinelander would have to beat Medford in the conference meet to earn at least a share of the conference title.
Rhinelander's total Tuesday night was a season high, surpassing the mark of 115.0 the team set Feb. 1 in the Antigo Invite, which left coach Heather Sturtevant feeling pleased despite the outcome of the dual.
"We knew going in we weren't going to beat Medford," Sturtevant conceded. "We've seen them all year. We know what their girls are capable of, so really it was more what are we personally capable of. Just hitting those bars it really how we went into today and how we're really going into the rest of our season, these last few meets. We'll just see where we are and see where the girls are themselves."
"We are not disappointed at all. The girls, really their goal was just to put it out there as best as they could and just cleaning up things," Sturtevant added.
Junior Lilli Bishop was Rhinelander's top finisher in three of the four events, despite battling illness. She finished fourth in the individual all-around, cracking the 30-point barrier for the first time in her career with a four-event score of 30.1. Bishop's night was highlighted by a personal-best 8.3 score on the floor. She finished fourth in the event, as well as balance beam (7.5) and uneven bars (6.75).
"That was just so awesome for her," Sturtevant said. "For her to score the 8.3 on floor and to crack 30, that's been her goal all season. That was just phenomenal. Just her drive. She came out just wanting to do the best she could for the team and just hit those marks. She really did."
Autumn Shafer finished fifth in the all-around for Rhinelander with a score of 29.225. She was Rhinelander's top finisher on the vault, taking sixth with a 7.9. She also had a fifth-place finish on balance beam (7.35). Bridget Koser finished sixth in the all-around with a 28.65 as she battled through a toe injury, according to Sturtevant.
Payton Rudawski had a personal-best score on floor exercise (8th, 7.6) and Abby Belbot scored a career-high on the uneven bars (9th, 4.45) for Rhinelander in the meet. Despite taking five falls as a team on balance beam, the Hodags had a season-best score of 28.95 in the event.
"We didn't have tons of personal bests today, but a lot of tied for season best, or maybe a tie for personal best," Sturtevant said. "This is great momentum going into conference and going into sectionals, if we can keep kind of riding that.
"A lot of those (personal bests) were at the beginning of the season when maybe judging wasn't quite as hard. We see, as we're cleaning things up, we're getting rewarded by the better scores."
Medford's Brooklyn Bilz took the all-around with a 32.375 ahead of teammates Makala Ulrich (31.3) and Kate Malchow (31.25). Bilz and Anna Wanke both won two events for the Raiders.
The Hodags will travel to Ashland for an invitational on Saturday.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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