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Though the team came up just short of a WIAA state team berth, the Nicolet girls gymnastics squad is finishing up its season a very positive note.

The Knights will still send Ellen Liang in four events and Cailin Mahoney and Lauryn Wagner in one each as the WIAA state individual meet will be held Saturday, March 4, in Wisconsin Rapids.

Nicolet earned those spots in the WIAA Division 1 sectional held at Menomonee Falls on Feb. 25. It was a meet that veteran Knights coach Chris Dempsey helped to facilitate by loaning Falls some mats and a vault horse.

Individual competition at state will begin at about 11 a.m.

Liang will compete in the all-around along with the vault, the uneven bars and balance beam, while Mahoney will take part on bars and Wagner on beam.

The Knights were oh-so-close to a coveted team berth in the eight-team sectional as they turned in a mark of 141.525 points for third while North Shore/Greater Metro Conference champ Brookfield (144.925) and Arrowhead (142.45) earned the team berths.

Liang, a senior, had a great day, taking fourth in the all-around with a 36.75 total. She was also second on beam (9.15), fourth on bars (9.025) and third on vault (9.375). Mahoney earned her spot with a fifth on bars (9.0) and Wagner earned her berth by tying for fifth on beam with an 8.975 mark.

Nicolet had several near-misses at more state slots, as Abbe Hansen was ninth on vault (8.9), and Mahoney was seventh on beam (8.95), with the qualifying score being an 8.975, and sixth on floor exercise (9.225), with the qualifying score being 9.3.

Mahoney also just missed out on an all-around berth, turning in a sixth-place 35.775 score with the fifth and final qualifying spot being a 36.025. Hansen was 11th in the all-around with a 34.675 total.

Dempsey got emotional over the results.

"I still cry today because I will always fight to the bitter end for all of you and feel your pain," she said. "Our sectional was tough and we proved to be one of the cleanest, most put together teams out there. You looked amazing and all your hard work showed in every move you made."

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