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Veteran Nicolet girls gymnastics coach Chris Dempsey knows there are always going to be stumbles on the road to excellence.

That's why the glass was very much more than full for her when the Knights opened the 2017 portion of their schedule by turning in a season-best, state-level score of 139.075 on Jan. 5 in a North Shore/Greater Metro Conference dual-meet victory over Homestead and then turned around and won the West Bend Invitational on Jan. 7.

"So fun to watch the girls work so hard to achieve their goals," Dempsey said, "and if not on this day, it will happen if they believe. We can fumble, but if we fall, we try to pick ourselves back up and find the positive. It is all about what we learn from experiences.

"Sometimes it is hard to find that inner positive, but with the help of a great team of girls that care for each other, they made it happen. So proud of all of you."

In the West Bend Invite, the Knights scored 138.65 for their victory. Ellen Liang won the all-around with a 36.075 score, and Cailin Mahoney was third with a 35.425 mark.

Mahoney also won the vault with a 9.25 score, and Liang was a close second with a 9.2. Liang was also second on both the uneven bars (9.05) and balance beam (9.2).

In the win over Homestead, the Knights took the top three spots in the all-around, as Liang came in with a 36.05, Mahoney 35.575 and Abbe Hansen 35.0. Liang won the vault (9.15), beam (9.125) and floor exercise (9.35), while Mahoney took the bars (8.65). Mahoney was second on vault with a 9.0 and turned in a mark of 9.2 for her runner-up spot on floor exercise.

Hansen was second on bars with an 8.6 and on beam with an 8.95. Other good efforts were turned in by Jenna Koshakow on bars and Lauryn Wagner and Morgan Schiff on floor. Rylee Callahan, Nina Iskandarsjach and Alia Maamouri were among the leaders of the fine junior-varsity effort.

Dempsey is optimistic for the future, as the Knights will host Shorewood in a 6 p.m. dual meet Thursday, Jan. 12.

"The sky is the limit," she told the team. "Keep working hard, and you will achieve your goals."

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