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updated: 1/18/2014 10:40 PM

Season-best score earns Lake Park second place

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By Chris Walker
Daily Herald Correspondent

There really wasn't any doubt that Prairie Ridge co-op would win Saturday's Neuqua Valley Invite.

Now second place, well, that was a different matter.

Tallying a season-best 137.150 points, Lake Park enjoyed the runner-up title, finishing comfortably ahead of third-place Lincoln-Way co-op's 134.8 and the hosts 134.2.

The Lancers may not be as super-talented as Prairie Ridge, but their performance was rather impressive.

"The difference today was we hit routines," Lancers coach Jake Luketin said. "On every single event we were able to count four hits. We only had two falls the whole meet and neither of them counted. If you can hit 14 out of 16 routines, that's awesome."

Linnae Capuder paced the Lancers, tying for fifth place in the all-around with a 34.05.

"It went pretty well today," Capuder said. "I stuck my beam routine and bars went well today, and vault was good. It was a very good meet for us today. We all came together as a team."

Some of the bigger scores from the Lancers included Jess-Lee Vanden Eykel's 9.05 on vault, Marissa DiBenedetto's 9 on vault, Rachel Fischer's 8.7 on bars and Annalise Donati's 9.05 on beam which was good enough for third place overall.

"I was really proud of how the whole team did today," Lake Park senior co-captain Erica Mack said. "And I think I did pretty good this meet. I stuck one of my vaults and was pretty happy with my beam routine."

Mack had an 8.8 on vault, 8.7 on floor and 8.5 on beam.

Neuqua Valley relied on its three all-arounders to secure fourth place.

Isis Ruff had a 33.65, Emily Jacobs added a 34.05, while freshman Colleen Moauro led the Wildcats, taking third with a 34.35.

"(Moauro) had a back injury, so for the first part of the season she was only competing every other meet," Neuqua Valley coach Anthony Avella said. "So we've been saving her a bit for the month of January, and I told her that we expect her to step it up a bit so she'll be competing more often."

Specialist Shaniah Lim added an 8.7 on vault for Neuqua Valley.

"I told the girls before this meet that I wanted them to leave this gym with no regrets," Avella said. "I wasn't asking them to be perfect and wasn't asking them to score higher than they had all season. I just wanted them to go for the tricks they have and leave it all out there, and I thought they did a nice job of doing that."

Addison Trail was fifth with a 129.85. Kennedy O'Neill took fourth place on bars with an 8.85. She had a team-best 33.45 in the all-around, while Tamara Mendez finished with a 33.

Lexi Beutler took 13th in the all-around with a 32.7 to lead Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op to sixth place with a 126.85.

Even without standout junior Riley Mahoney out with an injury, Prairie Ridge dominated. It had the top two placers in all four events.

"I like when they come into town because they're such a good team with so much talent," Avella said. "Gymnasts, parents, everything just kind of stops to watch them no matter what routine or event they're on."

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