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Red Raider gymnasts continue improvement

BELLEFONTE — Bellefonte’s Sarah Connor and Samantha Hackenburg were out to impress during a Jan. 15 home gymnastics meet with Altoona, and they didn’t disappoint.

Connor scored 31.45 points to take the second spot in the all-around competition, while Hackenburg finished right behind her in third with 30.5 points.

In the individual events, Grace Sherman and Emma Matsko led the way. Matsko posted a 7.7 score on the balance beam, which earned her a second-place finish. Sherman scored an 8.4 in the floor exercise event, which was also good enough for second.

Hackenberg grabbed two third-place finishes. She scored 8.25 in the vault and balanced her way to 7.5 score on the beam.

“The team is taking strides each meet to improve their individual scores along with the team score,” said head coach Kelsey Wellar. “The kids are stepping up and performing new skills and events they have not competed in in a long time. The team this year is a close group and the energy they bring to each meet is amazing.”

Wellar said their strides are paying off and the team scores are improving each match.

“I am always proud of the kids. They go out and do their best at each meet,” she said. “We always have things that we can improve upon with our routines to make us even better at each meet.”

The team traveled to Moon Middle School on Jan. 19 and competed in the annual Moon Invitational.

With 126.025 total points, the Red Raiders finished sixth out of the nine schools that competed. The host team, Moon, took won the invite with 146.400 points, followed by West Allegheny (138.075) and Central Valley


Four Bellefonte gymnasts competed in the Bronze Division.

Matkso led the team with a total of 29.575 points in the all-around category, which earned her a sixth-place finish. In the individual events, she placed fourth on the balance beam (7.975) and fourth in the floor exercise (7.625), sixth on the vault (8.000) and eighth on the uneven bars

(5.975). She was the lone Bellefonte competitor to compete in all the individual Bronze Division events.

Aleah Von Blohn competed in three events. She finished 10th on the uneven bars (5.800), 15th in the floor exercise (7.125) and failed to score points on the vault and finished in the 20th position.

Emma Regal score 7.700 and finished sixth on the balance beam and placed 20th in the floor exercise with a 6.850 score. Natalie Mattern scored a 7.000 in the floor exercise and finished 19th in the event.

In the Silver Division, Connor placed in the all-around top 10 by scoring 33.075 points and finished ninth. Individually, she posted a fourth-place finish on the uneven bars (7.850), 12th in the floor exercise (8.325), 17th on the vault (8.500) and 22nd on the balance beam (7.850).

Hackenburg was not far behind her teammate as she finished 18th all-around with a score of 31.750. She placed 18th on the uneven bars (7.350), 20th on the balance beam (7.900), 23rd in the floor exercise (8.125) and 24th on the vault (8.375).

Ahleah Krout competed in three individual events in the Silver Division. She finished 10th on the balance beam

(8.300), 19th on the vault (8.450) and 24th in the floor exercise (8.100).

The only Bellefonte boy competing was Evan McMullen, who participated in two events — floor exercise (18th place, 8.250) and vault (25th place, 8.350).

There’s no time to rest for the Lady Red Raiders. They were scheduled to travel to Ridgway on Jan. 22 and then will head the same direction on Jan. 24 for a meet with St.Marys. The next home meet is set for Jan. 27, which is Senior Night. At that event, the team’s four seniors — Connor, Krout, Sherman and McMullen — will be recognized.