The Austin gymnastics team won its first Big Nine title since 1971 in Mankato Saturday. From left: Abby Snater, Paige Raymond, Logan Tischer, Carolyn Hackel, Cassidy Bawek, Maddie Mullenbach, Abby Bickler, Jennifer Boyle, Illa Anderson, Sela Fadness, Alecia Uskert and Rachel Quandt. -- Photo Provided by Kristin Hackel

Packer gymnasts win first Big Nine title since 1972

Published 7:39pm Sunday, February 10, 2013

MANKATO — The Packer gymnastics team won its first Big Nine title since 1972 when it set another school record with a season’s best score of a 147.2.

Austin junior Sela Fadness won her second straight Big Nine All-Around title as she took first place in all four events and Austin head coach Mark Raymond was named Big Nine coach of the year.

“Great day for our girls,” Raymond said. “They came into the day very relaxed and simply performed well and had fun all day long. I am not sure who had more fun, the girls performing or the teammates cheering on the sideline. I am sure a couple of our girls do not have voices this morning.”

Owatonna had won the previous four Big Nine titles, but Austin was able to end its reign at the top. The Huskies took third on Saturday with a 145.1 and Winona was second with a 145.9.

“I wanted to make sure that (Owatonna) knew it wasn’t a fluke that we beat them the first time (in the regular season),” Fadness said. “It’s a huge accomplishment. The energy is high and there are a lot people there. It gives you the state feeling and it’s a good atmosphere to get us going.”

Fadness scored a 9.625 on the vault, a 9.450 on the bar, a 9.575 on the beam and a 9.7 on the floor as she had the top score in all four events.

“It gets harder every year. I was really nervous going into it, but I’m glad I could set those aside and perform.,” she said.

Austin senior Abby Snater scored a career-best score of 9.2 on the beam and Rachel Quandt scored a 9.1 on the floor.

“Abby looked extremely confident in the routine and the whole thing looked great. I could not be happier with a routine,” Raymond said. “Rachel has worked really hard the last couple of weeks to work her way back into a very deep line up.”

Austin will compete at the Section 1A meet in Byron Saturday. The Packers are looking to get to their second straight team meet and they’ve taken fifth at state in two of the last three years.

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