This is how much confidence Whitefish Bay gymnastics coach Mary Liniewski has in her youthful defending state champions.
Enough that she felt she could hold out one of her few "elder statesmen," junior all-around Lucy Anzia out of all but one event because of a back issue and still have the Blue Dukes advance out of sectional and give themselves a chance at earning another state Division 2 championship.
"We were going to water down her routines and still give her a chance to get through (as an all-around)," Liniewski said, "but having had back issues myself we were not going to jeopardize her health. We need her this week (if the Blue Dukes are to going to contend), but we'll wait and see how her back progresses."
Anzia still did a watered down routine on balance beam, her best event, and advanced in that from the WIAA D2 sectional the Blue Dukes hosted and won Friday.
The WIAA individual competition begins at 5:40 p.m. Friday in the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse while the team competition is at 11 a.m. Saturday. Liniewski said there are about four or five teams all very close to one another including a healthy Bay, so it's just a matter of who is on that given day.
"It's anybody's game," she said. "It's all a matter of who will stay poised under the pressure."
And then she laughed.
"But if we pull this one out," she said. "I expect a raise!"
Bay scored 135.575 to win the seven-team sectional as Waterford earned the second state team slot with 128.825. The score was about three points below the Blue Dukes' season best, almost all of that attributable to Anzia's absence.
Freshman Mary Claire Potter led the way with a victory in the all-around (36.325). She also took the uneven bars (9.3), the floor exercise (9.05) and balance beam (9.45).
Other individual state qualifiers for the Blue Dukes (top five event finishers) included freshman Sarah Kenlay in the all-around (32.975); Eileen Demet (8.75) and Paris Limberatos on vault (8.625); Kenlay on vault (8.125); Limberatos in floor exercise (8.525), and Anzia (8.6) and Kenlay (8.35) on beam.
Liniewski felt that the team did fabulous work on floor exercise and balance beam and that the Blue Dukes turned in three season bests on vault. Limberatos, Demet, Rachel Marks and Kenlay were all highlighted for their work.
"Libby Thomas, too," she added. "It was something, because we didn't have Lucy we had to put people in other positions and that led to people like Sara (Kenlay) qualifying in the all-around. Every unfortunate event still does have a silver lining."
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