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home : sports : sports May 24, 2016

2/20/2014 3:30:00 PM
Vikings qualify for state for the first time in school history
The North Branch gymnastics team shows off their section championship plaque at White Bear Lake High School last week. Among the team members are Mikayla Johnson, Megan Mahoney, Casey Hovland, Katy Trunk and Alexys Olson.
The North Branch gymnastics team shows off their section championship plaque at White Bear Lake High School last week. Among the team members are Mikayla Johnson, Megan Mahoney, Casey Hovland, Katy Trunk and Alexys Olson.
by JEFF NORTON


When the season started, Assistant Coach Bri McClaskie was just hoping the North Branch gymnastics team could perform well enough to come close to grabbing a state tournament berth. Little did she realize that not only would the girls win the section tourmanet, that they would blow the rest of the field out of the water.

The Vikings were the top team in Section 4A by a wide margine. They knocked four-time defending section champion Rush City/Pine City/Hinckley-Finlayson off by scoring nearly 140 points. RCPCHF was the next best team, just barely cracking 131. And St. Paul Highland Park was right along with RCPCHF in the low 130s. The win is a huge step for the Lady Vikes, as they have been on the rise for the last few years, but they were never able to earn a team berth to state. That was just the cherry on top too.

The Vikings were also conference champions of the Mississippi 8 Conference this year, something not many people thought was possible with Class AA power Cambridge-Isanti and traditional Class A stalwart Big Lake in competition. Also, St. Francis was in the mix, and they had beaten NB for the North Suburban Conference title the last five years. But, this group overcame those odds and beat Cambridge-Isanti. They beat Big Lake, and they beat St. Francis. And then came the win over RCPCHF. The Vikings were led by a slew of talented gymnasts in Megan Mahoney, Katy Trunk, Casey Hovland, Mikayla Johnson, Alexys Olson and Maranda Nelson. The Vikings will take to the mat at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion on Friday, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m. The individual competition will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.





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