Austin gymnast Abby Bickler high fives head coach Mark Raymond after her floor routine. The Packers won the Secion 1A meet in Byron Saturday. -- Rocky Hulne/

Packer gymnasts dominate Section 1A meet to clinch state berth

Published 9:46pm Sunday, February 17, 2013

Four years ago Austin senior Abby Snater was a freshman on a young Packer team that had to fight and claw to earn its first state appearance in school history.

Austin's Maddie Mullenbach peforms her beam routine at the Section 1A meet in Byron Saturday. -- Rocky Hulne/

This Saturday in Byron, it was a little different for the Packers, who dominated the Section 1A meet and earned their third trip to the Class ‘A’ state meet in the past four years.

Austin broke its school record for the third time in three weeks as it posted a score of 148.375 and it was at least 12 points ahead of all eight other teams in the meet.

“I’ve never been really nervous in meets before and I always loved competing, but when sections came I was always like ‘come on, let’s go,’” Snater said. “This year it was finally like, ‘Okay we got it.’ I was calm and everybody was ready to go.”

Snater also finally qualified for her first individual state meet when she scored a 9.1 on the balance beam.

“I think the four years I’ve been in high school, I had fallen off at every section meet,” Snater said. “I stuck it and I felt really good about it.”

The Packers scored a 9.0 or better in 15 of the 16 events they competed in and they sent a school record three all-arounders to the individual state meet. Austin junior Sela Fadness took first in the section for the second straight year and sophomore Abby Bickler and eighth grader Maddie Mullenbach tied for third.

Mullenbach, who is in her first year with the varsity team, surprised herself with her strong performance.

“It surprised me a lot,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to go to state the first time. My only goal was for my team to go to state, I didn’t care if I got in or not.”

Austin senior Abby Snater performs her balance beam routine at the Section 1A meet in Byron Saturday. -- Rocky Hulne/

Austin sophomore Carolyn Hackel, who advanced to the individual state meet on the floor, was 1.3 points from giving the Packers all four all-around spots in the individual state meet from Section 1A.

“Being greedy, I would’ve liked to have that fourth,” Austin head coach Mark Raymond said. “But Rochelle (Thesing) from La Crescent is just a solid kid and she’s a really nice girl. It’ll be fun to have her rotate with us.”

For the second straight year, the Packers swept the floor as they took the top four spots. Austin freshman Rachel Quandt put up a 9.2, but lost an all-around tie-breaker to Hackel.

Fadness, who took first in all four of her events, posted a 9.575.

“I hurt for the fifth girl,” Fadness said. “Rachel threw a heck of a routine. It stinks to throw a heck of a routine and be the fifth girl.”

Austin took fifth at state the past two times it went there. But this year the Packers are thinking bigger things. Austin won the ‘true team’ state meet and the Big Nine meet this year and it has its sights set at the top.

“We have definitely have shot at winning state and I know every girl in the gym is thinking about it,” Snater said. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”

Fadness said the Packers’ score on Saturday has her pretty optimistic. Especially if Austin can improve on that mark.

Austin's Carolyn Hackel performs her floor routine at the Section 1A meet in Byron Saturday. -- Rocky Hulne/

“It’s really exciting to go 148,” she said. “I know previously New Prague has gone 148 at state and I want to beat them. I want to win state. I hope we can perform like we did today next weekend and come out on top.”

The Class ‘A’ state gymnastics team meet will be held at University of Minnesota Sports Pavillion in Minneapolis Friday at noon and the Class ‘A’ state gymnastics individual meet will be held at the same location Saturday at noon.


Vault: Sela Fadness (9.750); Maddie Mullenbach (9.475); Abby Bickler (9.200); Carolyn Hackel (9.075); Cassidy Bawek (8.975)

Bars: Fadness (9.525); Bickler (9.275); Mullenbach (9.00); Hackel (8.6); Abby Snater (8.435)

Beam: Fadness (9.7); Mullenbach (9.175); Bickler (9.0); Snater (9.1); Hackel (8.1)

Floor: Fadness (9.575); Bickler (9.45); Mullenbach (9.275); Hackel (9.2); Quandt (9.2)

All-Around: Fadness (38.55); Bickler (36.925); Mullenbach (36.925); Hackel (34.975)


The Austin gymnastics team took to the podium as it claimed the top five spots in floor at the Section 1A meet in Byron Saturday. The Packers advanced to state as a team for the second straight year. -- Rocky Hulne/







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