The Prior Lake gymnastics team will be heading into a critical part of its season with a victory.
The Lakers edged Lakeville South in a South Suburban Conference home meet Dec. 17 with a score of 133.250, compared to 132.775 for the Cougars.
Prior Lake will be off until Jan. 4 when it competes in the New Prague Invitational at 11 a.m. Over the years, the holiday break has always been a crucial time for the Lakers as the team adds elements and degree of difficulty to their routines.
Lakeville South is a Section 2AA foe, but Lakeville North is the team to beat in the field. The Panthers are the defending Class AA state champions.
Lakeville North scored a 145.00 in an SSC win over the Lakers Dec. 10. The Lakers had a season-best total of 133.800 in the loss.
In the win over Lakeville South, ninth-grader Alex Burger had the Lakers' lone win taking the top spot on the floor exercise with a 9.1, while sophomore Kylie Thompson was second (9.075).
Junior Lydia Pavek led the Lakers on the vault and the balance beam. She tied for second on the vault with a score of 8.850, was second on the beam (8.775) and was fifth on the uneven bars (7.6).
Eighth-grader Sofia Monn competed in the all-around for Prior Lake and ended up third with a total of 29.675.
On the uneven bars, ninth-grader Terin Block led the Lakers taking third (7.9), while sophomore Mikayla Drentlaw was fourth (7.8), Monn was seventh (7.4) and seventh-grader Megan Downer took 10th (6.750).
On the beam, Thompson was fourth (8.575), followed by ninth-grader Megan Sporney in fifth (8.275), Block in sixth (8.225) and Monn in 10th (6.125).
Other finishes on the floor exercise for Prior Lake came from eighth-grader Brooke Thompson (4th, 8.625), followed by Monn (7th, 8.4) and eighth-grader Reese Huston (8th, 8.375).
Other Laker scores on the vault included sophomore Avery Wild (3rd, 8.650), Kylie Thompson (7th, 8.250) and sophomore Sarah Lesser and Monn (T8th, 7.750).
Prior Lake has SSC meets versus Eagan Jan. 7, at Eastview Jan. 14, at Farmington Jan. 28 and at Rosemount Feb. 4.
The Lakers will also compete in the Lakeville North Invitational Jan. 11 and has a home competition versus Breck Jan. 24.
The Section 2AA meet is Feb. 14 at Lakeville North. Pavek was the team's lone state qualifier last year taking 46th on the vault.
Prior Lake has had at least one gymnast qualify for state the last eight seasons. The Lakers were there as a team in 2013, taking seventh.
This year's state meet is Feb. 21-22 at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. The team competition is the first day, followed by the individual tourney the next day.