A year ago, Brookfield's gymnastics team narrowly edged Arrowhead for the program's first team sectional championship.
The gymnasts made sure there was little drama this time around, as Caitlin Locante and Lexi Romero continued to serve as a potent tandem, finishing first and second in the all-around to help Brookfield easily claim the team title Feb. 25 at the Menomonee Falls sectional.
With its second consecutive sectional championship, Brookfield, which posted a score of 144.925, will compete at the WIAA Division 1 state meet for the third straight year. Arrowhead claimed the second spot at state from the sectional but was a distant second place at 142.45.
"Sectionals was an amazing day for the team," Brookfield coach Erin Kokta said. "It was the example of what a team effort is. The girls were so positive and supportive of each other.
"We started on beam, which is always hard to do. The girls had so much excited energy, and to be first on an event where you need to control that excitement is a difficult task. We had a few hiccups on beam but from there on out the girls were fantastic. With half of the team being new to the pressure of sectionals and state, I am so impressed with how they dealt with the situation."
Brookfield's sectional score was third-best among teams qualifying for the state meet behind defending state champion Franklin/Muskego/Oak Creek/Whitnall and runner-up Kenosha United, the two teams the co-op will have to beat in order to win its first-ever state championship.
Locante won the all-around sectional title with a score of 37.825 and qualified for individual state in all four events. Romero was second in the all-around with a 37.600, and freshman Lexi Penney also made individual state in the all-around with a fifth-place finish at 36.025.
Locante won event titles on the uneven bars with a 9.650 and on the floor exercise with a 9.650. The senior tied for second on the vault (9.375) and on the balance beam (9.150) to qualify for individual state in both events.
Romero took first place on the balance beam with a 9.250 and also qualified for individual state on the vault (fourth place, 9.350), uneven bars (third place, 9.475) and floor exercise (second place, 9.525). Penny placed fourth on the beam (9.075) and fifth on the floor (9.300) to make individual state in both events.
"Lexi Penney was a standout as she qualified for state as a freshman on floor, beam and in the all-around," Kokta said. "Caitlin Locante and Lexi Romero both had one of their most solid meets of the season, as they both took home an individual sectional championship title on one or more events. In addition, they both qualified for state on all four events and in the all-around.
"It was a great meet and all of the teams pushed us to strive to be better. We are really excited to see what the state meet has in store for us."
The WIAA Division 1 state meet is set for March 3-4 at the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Rapids. Team competition will be held March 3 with individual events taking place March 4. Brookfield took fourth at state as a team in 2016 with then-senior Amanda Pennow winning the uneven bars title and Locante claiming second in the all-around.