By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — A week after winning the floor exercise at the Great Northern Conference Meet, Marshfield freshman Emma Haugen thought maybe that event would be her best chance at earning a spot at state.
However, it was the first event of the sectional, the vault, where Haugen excelled.
Haugen had a score of 9.1 to end up in a three-way tie for third place in the vault at the Division 1 Eau Claire Memorial Sectional on Feb. 27 and qualified for the 2016 WIAA State Gymnastics Championships at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School on Saturday.
Haugen’s score was her season-best in the event, and what a spot to do it.
“In the background (during warm-ups) I was just having fun, dancing around. I wasn’t too worried, just having fun,” Haugen said of the sectional vault competition. “The first one I got a 9, and I was pretty happy with that one, and the second one the coaches were screaming, so I was like, ‘I guess that one was better.’ I had a 9 and a 9.2, so it averaged to a 9.1, and that was beating my highest score I’d ever had on the vault.
“I was kind of surprised because I stuck the landing and thought, ‘That was really good.’ I saw the score, and I was really happy.”
Haugen ended up seventh in the floor with a respectable 9.025, missing out on a spot at state in that event by just 0.175 points. She also took ninth in the all-around scoring, less than a point out of the top-five finish needed to qualify for state.
“I think the vault being the first event, I had most of my energy,” Haugen said. “The floor, I thought I was pretty good, but some of the passes I didn’t stick as well as at conference.”
Haugen’s success at conference was a big boost for her, first-year Marshfield coach Allie Dryer said.
“Emma had one of her best meets of the season at sectionals, and that was amazing because freshmen often lose it at sectionals because they are so nervous,” Dryer said. “Emma was (able to) stay really calm and hit her routines. I think she had a lot of confidence from the conference meet because she realized she could be competitive with those Division 1 schools.”
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 WIAA State Gymnastics Championships
March 4-5, at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School
Friday, March 4
Team competition begins at 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 5
Individual competition begins at 11:15 a.m.
(Tickets are $6 per session and will be available at the door.)