WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Lancaster senior Haley Hentrich has made a career out of winning medals, all-conference awards and trips to state, but the most prestigious accolade had always eluded her.
That is until this past weekend.
Friday night at Wisconsin Rapids’ Lincoln High School, Hentrich became the first gymnast in the history of the Platteville program to win a state title. Then later that night she won another.
The four-year state qualifier won WIAA Division 2 individual state championships in both the balance beam and floor exercise, while finishing fourth on the vault and seventh in the all-around (35.833).
“I just can’t believe it. It feels so unreal,” said Hentrich. “I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I am extremely happy and excited to accomplish what I have been working for.”
“Thursday night, I had a dream that I won beam, floor, and all around,” added Hentrich. “I told my coaches and teammates before the meet and we all had a pretty good laugh about it thinking it wasn’t going to happen. Although, I didn’t win the all around, my dream was still pretty darn close! I mean, who can complain about two gold state medals?”
Hentrich opened the individual competition with a fourth-place finish on the vault (9.167).
After her rotation on bars, she scored a division best 9.033 on the beam to win her first state title, just edging out teammate Jackie Runde and Rice Lake/Cumberland sophomore Alex Van Gilder, who tied for second with identical scores of 9.017.
Hentrich won her second gold in the final rotation of her prep career, on her favorite event — floor exercise — with a score of 9.250. Runde, a Platteville senior finished 11th on the floor (8.983).
“I told myself right before floor that this was my last time doing this floor routine and I had to give it my everything, and I did,” said Hentrich. “It was one of the best floor routines I have ever done and I nailed everything.
Runde, also a four-year state qualifier, finished ninth in the all-around at 35.150. She also placed eighth on the uneven bars (8.617).
“Both girls had a great individual night,” said Hillmen head coach Jessica Hill. “They had great performances on all four events. It was exciting to see the hard work they have put in over the last four years pay off.
“It was a bonus for Haley to win two events. It was also exciting to see Jackie stand next to her [on the awards podium]. Both worked very hard to achieve their goals. This year they were much more confident and it showed in their routines. I believe that confidence was a major contributor to their success.”
Saturday afternoon Hentrich and Runde once again joined forces to lead the Platteville/Belmont/Lancaster co-op in the Division 2 Team State competition.
Along with fellow seniors Courtney Bowen and Brianna Garnder, juniors Danielle Jentz and Brooke Groom, and freshman Jenna Phillips, the Hillmen finished third (138.90) behind champion River Falls (142.416) and runner-up Mount Horeb (141.183).
The Hillmen began their team rotations on the vault, their weakest of the four events.
“Haley and Jackie had better vaults than usual but the rest of the vaulter’s have had better meets,” said Hill. “But from there it only got better.”
The Hillmen moved on to bars, where four competitors had their best bar routines of the season.
The Platteville co-op continued on to the beam.
“This is the event I consider to be our strength and at the state meet it was definitely true,” said Hill. “Bri started us off with a good looking routine and it only got better. Jenna continued to improve. Courtney, Haley, and Jackie had outstanding routines with Jackie scoring a 9.4.”
Phillips led off the final rotation on the floor with her best routine of the year and was followed by Bowen posting a career-best score of 9.117.
Runde (9.050) and Hentrich (9.167) wrap up the event with scores over 9.0.
“I was very happy with the way the girls fought for every tenth throughout the meet,” said Hill. “The meet did not go perfectly, but the gymnasts ability to leave what was already done behind them and focus on the next events made the team a success.”
WIAA Division 2 Team State Championships
(from Saturday, March 2 @ Wisc. Rapids)
Team Scores — 1.River Falls 142.416, 2.Mount Horeb 141.183, 3.Platteville/Belmont/Lancaster 138.90, 4.Rice Lake/Cumberland 138.483, 5.Whitefish Bay 135.151, 6.Antigo 134.034, 7.Westby/Bangor 132.767, 8.River Valley 130.9160, 9.Ashland 129.366, 10.Waterford 129.150.
Vault (34.266) — Haley Hentrich 9.033, Jackie Runde 8.733, Danielle Jentz 8.400, Brooke Groom 8.100, Courtney Bowen 7.967.
Uneven Bars (33.583) — Runde 8.700, Hentrich 8.633, Bowen 8.517, Brianna Garnder 7.733, Jenna Phillips 7.283.
Balance Beam (35.017) — Runde 9.400, Hentrich 9.167, Bowen 8.333, Phillips 8.117, Gardner 8.000.
Floor Exercise (36.034) — Hentrich 9.300, Bowen 9.117, Runde 9.050, Phillips 8.567, Brooke Groom 8.100.
WIAA Division 2 Individual State Championships
(from Friday, March 1 @ Wisc. Rapids)
All-around — 7.Haley Hentrich 35.833, 9.Jackie Runde 31.150
Balance Beam — 1.Hentrich 9.033, 2(tie).Runde 9.017.
Floor Exercise — 1.Hentrich 9.250, 11.Runde 8.983
Uneven Bars — 8.Runde 8.617
Vault — 4.Hentrich 9.167