When she took this job on several years ago, Franklin, Muskego, Oak Creek and Whitnall girls gymnastics coach Katie Moore could not have imagined what her WIAA state champion team would accomplish in a decade's time.
"Not in a million years," she said with a laugh.
On March 5, though, it was back to mom mode for Moore.
Gone for the moment was the well-known and respected leader of the FMOW co-op, which won its sixth WIAA Division 1 state team title in seven years on March 3 and then saw team leader senior Abigail Missiaen turn in a spectacular vault to claim a tie for an individual state crown in the March 4 individual event competition.
One day later, it was back to the "crisis of the moment" for Moore and her three children.
"We got home late last night (March 4), and it was right back into homework for me," she said. "Social studies, math projects, you name it."
Team kept building
The extra activities couldn't take away from the energy and excitement the local co-op has generated the last three weeks as it steadily built from a team with just three key returnees (Missiaen, Krystal Nelson and Rebecca Koronkowski) to the type of championship juggernaut that has become the dominant force in state gymnastics this decade.
"This is always an adventure," Moore said."We look to put our best foot forward at the end of the season. We work all year for the conference, sectional and state meets."
It was a state title the FMOW group was confident it could win, but by no means was it going to be easy.
"Confident but not comfortable," Moore said.
So when Southeast Conference and WIAA sectional rival Kenosha posted an imposing score of 37.317 on the balance beam in its last rotation in the team competition March 3, Moore knew that the pressure was on.
FMOW was up on floor exercise in its last rotation. Moore knows that her team's strength was built around vault and uneven bars, but she knew her team had very good momentum coming from a 36.817 score on the beam (second only to Kenosha). She sent sophomore Emma Warr out first on floor, and the state newcomer just kept the momentum rolling with a season best of 9.15.
It just kept going from there.
Koronkowski followed with a 9.05 (a score the team would drop), and then Nelson put FMOW in the driver's seat with a 9.55 effort. Missiaen and her sophomore sister Elizabeth followed with 9.35 and 9.367, respectively, to put the final touches on yet another state crown.
Moore said the crowd at the Wisconsin Rapids field house really helped the team along on the event.
"I felt the crowd started a little slow; they were a little quiet, but by the time we got to floor, they were crazy," she said. "We had a lot of the JV kids and almost all the parents up there, which helped. The kids were sitting on the floor, cheering and having a good time. I've always felt that it's good to have the crowd on your side at state. They can really carry you along."
That effort propelled FMOW to a winning mark of 147.8167, and old rival Kenosha had to settle for second just like it did last year with a 146.8333. Brookfield was third with 144.7667.
FMOW also helped itself with a runner-up effort of 37.25 on vault and a meet-best of 36.333 on bars.
Senior Isabelle Anderson topped FMOW efforts on beam with a 9.417, while Elizabeth Missiaen led the way on bars with a 9.3. Abigail Missiaen topped the vault efforts with a spectacular 9.783.
Abigail Missiaen did that vault a bit better during the March 4 individual competition, tying eventual all-around champion Samantha Weyker of Kenosha for the crown with a 9.8 mark.
The handspring front one-and-a-half flip vault is a bit unusual, Moore said, because most vaults are done with a backward launch.
"But we knew if she could execute it and get it right, it would be special," she said. "It's actually quite beautiful and amazing. She gets great height on it. I could actually walk under it quite comfortably.
"We've actually been waiting on Abi for a vault state title, and she finally got it."
Moore calls Abigail Missiaen the engine of the team.
"She really sets the tone," Moore said, "a real competitor. She gives it her all every meet and pumps up the team to do the same."
Sister Elizabeth earned a sixth on floor exercise with a 9.367 while also taking fourth on bars (9.25) and tying for fifth on vault (9.483). Nelson was fourth in the all-around (37.6), and Elizabeth Missiaen just missed a state medal in the all-around, earning seventh of 25 with a 37.333 mark. Abigail Missiaen tied for eighth at 36.783.
A stunner on the bars was the effort of Nelson. Moore said Nelson had a slightly sub-par sectional qualifying meet the week before and didn't advance to state on bars, but while competing in the event at state as an all-around (she was not eligible to win the the state title in the event), she turned in a competition-best mark of 9.317.
Moore was actually surprised at the individual efforts as the FMOW family celebrated the team title long into the night the evening before at the cabin they always rent in the Rapids area.
"We had a team dinner, and we spent the night toasting each other with Gatorade and water," she laughed. "We were up to 11 p.m. Just way too much excitement."
There was one more pizza party on the night of March 4 before everyone went home, state champions once more.
"For about half the kids, this was something all brand new," Moore said. "You could see it in their eyes. That's what made it great."