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Though still not at 100 percent, the Whitefish Bay girls gymnastics team is certainly acting like its old self, as the Blue Dukes, behind a sweep of all individual events by returning D2 state all-around champ Aly Yurkowitz, won the White Division of the Mount Horeb Invitational on Jan. 7.

The effort came on top of a solid dual-meet win over Shorewood on Jan. 5, at which the team score started to tick upward.

It was all a positive for the defending D2 state champs, according to coach Mary Liniewski.

"At Mount Horeb, the girls' goal was 138 with a one-point swing I figured for falls," she said. "They hit 137.7, so they stayed in range, which was a huge confidence builder for our team. We hit on three events, but we still have room for improvement on those events. This is very encouraging for this squad."

Bay's score of 137.7 won the seven-team division as Sun Prairie was second (135.85).

Yurkowitz remains in prime form, as she won the balance beam (9.425), uneven bars (9.4), vault (9.45) and floor exercise (no score available) en route to an easy all-around title.

She got help from Jess Fetting, who was sixth on beam (8.7) and tied for that same spot on bars (8.35), and Abby Timms, who tied for fourth on vault (8.85) and got ninth on beam (8.55).

For Liniewski, it was a major step forward as the future starts to look a little brighter for the injury-plagued team.

"Sarah Kirchner should be coming back to the line up at the end of January," she said. "We will change the way we utilize her in order to protect her knee (dislocating problem). She will provide greatly needed depth to the team.

"(This) was a nice meet where we got to see different judges from the Madison area."

Liniewski was also pleased with the effort against Shorewood.

"We broke out of the 132 score (rut) and hit 136," she said. "The girls improved several small things in their routines, but a lot of work still needs to get done."

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