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Gymnastics: Raptors gain experience at individual state

East Ridge's Alyssa Chandler is all smiles as she dismounts from the balance beam Saturday. Chandler scored a 9.3 in the event to place 11th in the state meet. (Photo by John Molene)1 / 4
East Ridge's Cassie Kahrer shows winning form in the floor exercise Saturday in the Class AA division of the state gymnastics meet. Kahrer scored a 9.2 on the floor, but later had to withdraw from the all-around competition after suffering an ankle injury on a vault. (Photo by John Molene)2 / 4
Sophomore Cassie Kahrer of the Raptors nails the vault on her first attempt, scoring a 9.425. Disaster struck on her second attempt, however, as she injured an ankle on the landing and was forced to withdraw from the rest of the meet. (Photo by John Molene)3 / 4
Lexie Corcoran of East Ridge works her floor routine at the state meet Saturday at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion. (Photo by John Molene)4 / 4

The lasting image for the East Ridge gymnastics team on Saturday might be Alyssa Chandler carrying teammate Cassie Kahrer on her back to a seat in the stands.

It was a bit of a rough Saturday night for the Raptors in the state individual gymnastics championships at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion a day after placing seventh in the Class AA state team event.

All-around sophomore standout Kahrer had to drop out of the meet after injuring an ankle on the landing of her second vault. The ankle injury prevented Kahrer from performing on the bars — perhaps her signature event — or the balance beam.

"On my second vault I just landed funny on my ankle," Kahrer said. "I couldn't really stand on it. I'm sad, but I still have two more years, so I guess it's not the end of the world."

East Ridge head coach Chris Muras and the meet trainer made the decision to hold Kahrer out of her remaining events.

"I think she's in good spirits and she's going to move on from this," Muras said. "It's her first year at state, so she's got two more years I told her."

Chandler performed well on the balance beam, finishing 11th overall out of 32 competitors. Chandler had scores of 9.4 from two judges and 9.2 from two, tying a season's best score of 9.3 overall.

"I was very happy," Chandler said. "I was very nervous because it was the last event that we did and it felt like we waited for like a year to get there. But after finishing it felt really good."

"Alyssa went out and she hit her beam, that's what we needed," Muras said. "I don't know if it was enough to place, but she's got to be proud that she hit her beam and got to compete individually at state."

Lexie Corcoran had a miscue in her floor exercise routine and placed 31st with a score of 8.7875.

"Lexie went out there and we were doing a new floor routine, and she had a fall on it," Muras said. "But I think she did a good job. It was her first year competing individually at state, so I just told her you've got three more years. You'll get it; I'm not worried about it."

Kahrer ended up with scores of 9.2125 in the floor exercise and 9.425 in the vault, finishing 20th in that event.

The good news for the Raptors is eight of the top nine gymnasts will return next season. Chandler and Alissa Moline are juniors, Kahrer, Hannah Walker and Abigail Johnson are sophomores, Corcoran and Amy Ruiz Plaza are freshmen and Alexis Wallen is an eighth grader.

Kahrer had a solid 9.425 on her first vault, but slipped and fell on her second and gained just an 8.825 mark.

Kahrer's scores on the floor were a little all over the map from the four judges, ranging from a high of 9.6 to a low of 9.05. She was penalized a 0.1 deduction and ended with a score of 9.2.