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Packers place three in top-10 at state individual meet

Published 7:31pm Saturday, February 23, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — The Packers placed three gymnasts in the top-10 for all-around at the Class ‘A’ state gymnastics individual meet at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis Saturday.

Austin's Carolyn Hackel performs on the floor during the Class A Minnesota State Gymnastics Meet individuals Saturday at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion.
Austin’s Carolyn Hackel performs on the floor during the Class A Minnesota State Gymnastics Meet individuals Saturday at the University of Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion.

Austin junior Sela Fadness won the first all-around title in school history, Austin eighth grader Maddie Mullenbach took fourth in the all-around and Austin sophomore Abby Bickler took ninth in the all-around.

“The program is doing really well,” Austin head coach Mark Raymond said. “We’re moving in the right direction and I think we’re laying down a foundation for the future.”

Austin eighth grader Maddie Mullenbach showed a big sign of maturity early in the meet. While she was in the middle of her beam routine, Mullenbach noticed a Perham gymnast hit her head on the nearby bars and she was not getting up immediately.

Initially, Mullenbach stumbled, but she recovered and finished with a respectable score of 8.950 on the beam.

Austin's Maddie Mullenbach performs on the floor during the Class A Minnesota State Gymnastics Meet individuals Saturday at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion.
Austin’s Maddie Mullenbach performs on the floor during the Class A Minnesota State Gymnastics Meet individuals Saturday at the University of Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion.

“I saw her fall and I kind of tried to ignore it, but it made my heart go even faster than it normally does when I’m on the beam,” Mullenbach said. “I knew I had to finish even though I couldn’t stop thinking about whether she was okay or not.”

Austin head coach Mark Raymond said that Mullenbach showed some strong focus on the beam.

“It takes a lot to go through that and not be distracted,” Raymond said. “She’s grown a lot this year and she’ll be fun to have around for the next couple of years.”

Mullenbach made her way to the the podium in the vault, where she took third and the floor, where she placed third.

“I’ve never felt this excited before. I feel more proud than I did before,” she said.

Austin's Abby Snater performs on the balance beam during the Class A Minnesota State Gymnastics Meet Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.
Austin’s Abby Snater performs on the balance beam during the Class A Minnesota State Gymnastics Meet Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.

The first year varsity gymnast is surrounded by athletes who have been to the state meet a few times, but Mullenbach doesn’t always look for guidance. This year, she’s looked to work hard enough where she can motivate some of her teammates.

“I feel like I should push them more than they push me (to get better),” Mullenbach said.

Bickler took sixth for the Packers on the podium, Abby Snater was 13th on the beam and Carolyn Hackel was 10th on the floor.

“I’m really happy. We didn’t leave too much out there. They did a really great job coming off a hard performance on Friday,” Austin head coach Mark Raymond said.

Fadness said it was great to have Mullenbach up on the podium with her for floor, vault and all-around.

“Maddie’s come so far this year and I’m so happy for her,” Fadness said. “It was her first year at state and it didn’t effect her. She had a blast out there.”

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