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Gymnastics: Raiders score season high

Courtney Kasel competes on the floor exercise during Thursday's meet in Cottage Grove against Park. She is a Hastings junior.

A strong performance on the balance beam helped the Hastings gymnastics team to its best score of the season in a Suburban East Conference meet last week in Cottage Grove.

Hastings scored a season-high 134.025 points in the meet. The Raiders lost to the Wolfpack, but first-year coach Megan Latch was thrilled with what she saw from her team.

"We improved by almost five points from the previous meet," Latch said. "Everything came together. We had four varsity beam routines that were stuck. That was great. The girls did a really nice job."

Two girls on the team unveiled new vaults against Park, too, so beam wasn't the only highlight.

All told, Hastings gymnastics competing on junior varsity and varsity finished the night with 22 personal best scores.

Hastings had four girls competing in the all-around competition.

The team's only senior, Michelle Willis, led the Raiders with a score of 35.075 points. Jamie Becker, a freshman, finished with 33.975 points. Freshman Alison Kromer finished with 32.65 and junior Courtney Kasel finished with a total of 32.35.

All four varsity scorers on beam were able to complete their routine without falling, which dramatically impacted the team score. Becker finished with a personal best score of 8.75 points and Kasel had an 8.4.

"It was just a good night on beam," Latch said. "It was the first time all season they all stayed on. It was by far our best meet so far."

Other top scores included a 9.0 on bars by Willis and an 8.1 by Becker.

On the floor exercise, Willis scored a team-high 9.15 points. Becker had an 8.525, Kromer had an 8.3 and Kasel had an 8.05.

On vault, Willis led Hastings with an 8.875. Kromer had an 8.775, Becker had an 8.6 and Kasel had an 8.45.

"We're steadily progressing," Hastings assistant Jeanne Kasel said. "We're continually getting better as we go, and that's what we want to see."

Kasel is also excited that Hastings is fielding a junior varsity team.

"Our JV team is growing," she said. "We haven't had a JV team to speak of for the last several years. We're excited that we're building a JV team."

Hastings has been on the road all season long, but will be home at the Hastings Gymnastics Center for five upcoming meets.