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Raptors bound for state meet

East Ridge Raptors girls gymnasts hold up the Section 3AA championship trophy they won Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, at Woodbury. The Raptors qualified for their third straight state tournament. John Molene / Sports Writer1 / 2
Park High School's Mandy Hafner (left) and East Ridge's Cassie Kahrer (center) qualified for the state gymnastics meet on the uneven bars. Kahrer won the section event with a score of 9.625, while Hafner finished third with a score of 9.350. Individual competition will begin 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in the University of Minnesota's Maturi Pavilion. John Molene / Sports Writer2 / 2

Junior Cassie Kahrer won the bars and finished third in the all-around competition to lead the East Ridge Raptors to another section gymnastics title and another trip to state.

Two individual Park High School students also will compete Feb. 23-24.

It will be the third-straight trip to the Minnesota state meet for the high-flying Raptors, who finished first in all four team events Friday, Feb. 16, at Woodbury High School.

Kahrer qualified for state on the vault (13th, 9.0), bars (first, 9.625), beam (fifth, 9.375) and floor (third, 9.600). She was third in the all-around with a score of 37.600.

East Ridge eighth-grader Hailey Tretter qualified for state on the vault (third, 9.550) and the floor (sixth, 9.450) and senior Alyssa Chandler made it on the floor (fourth-place, 9.550).

Park's Mandy Hafner and Brenna Sommerland also qualified for state. Hafner was third on the bars with a score of 9.350 and Sommerland scored a 9.425 on the beam to finish fourth.

Sommerland had a strong overall night, finishing with scores of nine or better on the vault, beam and floor. Hafner had scores of 9.450 on the vault in addition to her beam total.

The fourth-ranked Raptors had some slips and slides along the way, but still triumphed over a talented seven-team field which included 12th-ranked Apple Valley/Eastview and 15th-ranked Eagan. East Ridge won the section meet with a score of 146.550, just off the team's average for the season. That means the Raptors definitely have something to shoot for in next week's state meet.

"Even though that we had little mistakes we stayed as a team, we just carried on and didn't let those get to us," said Kahrer.

Sophie Redding of Henry Sibley won the all-around with a score of 38.250, followed by Bailey Davidson of Apple Valley/Eastview (37.750). East Ridge's Tretter was fifth in the all-around with a score of 36.850 and Chandler was sixth with a 36.100. Sommerland of Park was eighth in the all-around (35.500) and Hafner finished 10th (34.850).

A state qualifier last season in her signature event the balance beam, Chandler slipped and fell off the beam and finished 10th in the event. She still made it to state, however, scoring 9.550 and finishing fourth on the floor to earn a repeat trip as an individual.

"I was a little upset after beam because that's kind of what I expected would be my shot," Chandler said. "Luckily it all worked out in the end with floor. It was a little frustrating because that's what I've worked so hard this whole season, for this day. This is all I wanted is to go to state on beam and so when I fell I knew that shot was gone. So it was hard to get back up and finish my routine. But I knew if I could hit it clean and consistent it would be good for the team score."

Park third, Woodbury sixth

The Raptors finished first in every team event, winning the vault (37.150), bars (35.200), beam (36.200) and floor (38.000).

Eagan was second with a 143.400, followed by: Apple Valley/Eastview 142.250, Park 136.500 Henry Sibley 134.725, Woodbury 129.775 and Cretin-Derham Hall, 101.650.

East Ridge's Hannah Walker competed in just two events, but made them count with a 9.3 on the vault and a 9.4 on the floor.

"I'm so happy, I'm so proud," said East Ridge coach Caroline Urgo. We had our highest floor score of the year as a team. We got a 38. That was a really good way to start. Vault, we had some individual highs. We were a little lower on vault as a team but you know what we went to bars and did our normal bars. We left vault behind and did great on bars. I think I'm most proud of beam because our first three girls stuck their beam routines. When you go 1-2-3 sticking beam routines that's really, really good.

"Our last two girls fell but you know what, they still got pretty much 9.0s, and you can't really be mad because they fell. But everything else they did was so perfect and so calm and they didn't let the fall get to them," Urgo added. "As a coach you can't be any more proud of that. They didn't let anything little get to them and that's the best part of that. They just kept going."

Ella Endrizzi scored a 33.900 to lead the Woodbury Royals. Emma Golden had a 31.800 and Michelle Kittelson a 30.875. Sophia Bancker's score of 8.950 in the floor exercise was the top score of the night for the Royals.

The state meet will be Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, 24, in the Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus. The Class AA team championships will start at 6 p.m. Friday, with the individual and all-around championships starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24.

"I think being up there with those top teams is going to push us to just do our best," Kahrer said.