Kelley back at state for third straight year
MILTON—Taylor Kelley is no stranger to the state meet.
The Milton High junior gymnast will end her season for the third straight year by competing at the WIAA Division 2 state meet.
Kelly will compete in the all-around competition, as well as floor exercise and uneven bars, at Saturday's state meet in Wisconsin Rapids.
Although Kelley's failed to make the podium in her first two trips to state, Milton coach Kristine Farnsworth believes she's good enough to medal by finishing among the top six.
“Taylor's a very focused gymnast right now,” Farnsworth said. “She's struggled with some injuries this season, but she's as healthy as she's been heading into state.
“The key for Taylor is her consistency. That's her strong point, and if she can be consistent on every event at state, she could finish in the top six—especially in the all-around.”
Kelley qualified on balance beam as a freshman and followed that up with a trip to state on beam and uneven bars as a sophomore.
Farnsworth said balance beam is Kelley's best event, but she failed to qualify for the event at state because of a costly fall at the sectional meet. The coach believes the fall could work to Kelley's advantage Saturday, along with her previous experience of competing on a big stage.
“Taylor knows what she's capable of doing on beam, and if she has that kind of performance on Saturday, that's only going to help her all-around score,” Farnsworth said.
“She's got that little bit of a mental edge over a lot of other girls competing because she has been through this before. It's a matter of keeping her focus and mindset on the task at hand.”
The only returning champion in any event in Division 2 is Mount Horeb's Lauren Faust on floor exercise. The beam, bars, vault and all-around will crown new champions, which gives Kelley an excellent chance to crack the top six.
Farnsworth believes it will take an all-around score of 36.0 and higher to medal at state. Kelley's best all-around score this season is 35.75.
“It comes down to doing your very best and avoiding any falls for all four disciplines,” Farnsworth said. “And if she does have one slip-up, she has to pull herself together and keep that mental edge.”
Whitewater's Kelly O'Hara will also compete in the Division 2 all-around. The sophomore also qualified individually in vault, floor exercise and uneven bars.
Team competition in Division 1 and Division 2 is Friday night. The co-op team of Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall is the three-time defending champion in Division 1, while River Falls will be looking for its seventh straight Division 2 title.