Faribault gymnast Lauren McDonough placed first on beam with a score of 9.45, qualifying her for next weekend's state gymnastics meet.

Faribault coach Larissa Rasmussen called the Falcons’ final meet Thursday — the Section 2A championship in Glencoe — “bittersweet” but added that she was proud of the girls for their efforts and their willingness to support each other.

“The girls have worked so hard all season and it's sad that it came to an end last night, especially for our seniors Evie Wood and Gabby Hollund,” Rasmussen said.

The Falcons started on the floor, where Brianna Radatz achieved a season-high score of 8.775. Faribault’s highest individual score on floor came from McDonough, who placed 10th overall with a score of 9.025.

Rasmussen was pleased to see the Falcons improve their team score on the bars by more than 3 points since their last competition at the Big 9 Conference meet.

The Falcons finished the night competing on the beam, and were the very last team to perform. All other events were competed by that point, which meant all eyes were on McDonough to see if she could qualify for state for the second year in a row.

“It's safe to say that everyone in the gym was watching Lauren during her beam routine,” said Rasmussen. “Amazingly, she overcame the immense pressure and stuck her routine, scoring her all-time highest beam score and beating out everyone else in the section on that event. The entire team broke out in tears afterward, both happy for Lauren and sad that the season is over.”

As a team, the Falcons achieved their goal of besting their team score from last year’s section meet with a 127.75 this year. Overall, Faribault placed fifth, a one place improvement from last year as well when the Falcons placed sixth.

Rasmussen said the best moments of the night involved watching the girls encourage each other throughout the meet with pep talks, as well as listening to them excitedly cheer each other on.

“Seeing them truly enjoy competing as a team made me so proud, and it was so fun to watch them all have fun during their routines,” said Rasmussen. “We are proud and excited that Lauren gets to represent Faribault at the state competition this coming weekend.”

McDonough also placed sixth all-around with a total score of 34.675. Lexi Bottke accumulated a score of 32.225, Brianna Radatz scored a 30.975, Hannah Merdan scored a 29.725 and Evie Wood scored a 28.325.

McDonough and Bottke achieved the team’s highest scores on vault. Both finished with an 8.5. They also tied for the team-high score of 7.65 on bars.

The state gymnastics meet is Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.

Sports reporter Jason Hommes can be reached at 507-333-3119. Follow him on Twitter @FDNjason. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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