Ending a little short: Fossum finished with state floor exercise title, fourth in all-around for Dickinson
Before Dickinson sophomore Acacia Fossum entered Bismarck Century High School gymnasium for the North Dakota Class A state gymnastics meet, she was feeling pretty good.
Throughout warm-ups for her first event the uneven bars — which is one of Fossum’s strongest events — she was still feeling good.
The good feeling quickly faded as Fossum fell on the dismount of her bar routine.
“I was going too fast into my dismount, so I tried to slow myself down,” said Fossum, who finished in sixth in the event with a 9.150. “I was going too slow and my feet were already on the bar and I was going to balk, but I’ve never balked in a meet. I thought to myself, ‘What am I doing?’ I tried to pull it around and I just landed on my butt.”
Fossum’s hopes of winning a fourth straight all-around title took a hit, but she wasn’t out of the contention.
Despite sticking the landings on her next three other events, Fossum couldn’t make up enough ground as Bismarck High senior Kaylee Keller won the all-around title with a score of 37.767 on Saturday. Fossum finished fourth with a 37.450.
“After that bar routine, I was frustrated, because I had a really good warm-up,” she said. “I knew that I could come back from a fall, but I knew it was going to be hard.
“I’m so happy that Kaylee got it this year. If anyone was going to beat me, it was going to be her. She’s a good gymnast.”
Fossum finished with the only Dickinson state individual title on the floor exercise. She scored a 9.633 to win the event. Fossum has seven individual titles. Dickinson sophomore Keana Kudrna finished runner-up on floor (9.600).
Kudrna didn’t feel good going into the second day of the state meet.
“Knowing that I got through the meet in one piece made me feel a lot better,” she said with a laugh. “Right when I got here and I thought about only competing on vault, but once the day got later I knew I had to compete for myself and show everybody that I can push through.”
Kudrna grinded out a flu-ridden state meet to claim a pair of runner-up finishes in the floor and vault (9.550). The lone event she struggled on was balance beam where she didn’t finish in the top 30. She placed eighth in the all-around (36.433).
“She came in throwing up several times over the night and morning,” Dickinson head coach Kent Van Ells said. “She had her own little bucket with her in case it happened here. Except for beam, she had a really good meet. Beam is the hardest thing to do when you don’t feel well. Balance is everything. I was really proud of her.”
Once Fossum finished her final event, she tears started flowing. Not that she lost an all-around title, but because she was watching Dickinson senior Mikaela Kessel compete on the floor for the final time in her career.
Kessel, who was the defending state floor exercise champion, was the final gymnast to compete.
“I was crying, because I knew this was Mikaela’s last floor routine,” Fossum said. “Everybody loves watching her perform and knowing it was the last time I got to hug her. It’s going to be really tough next year without her.”
The Dickinson senior said there was plenty of adrenaline entering the final meet. She admitted there might have been a little too much.
Kessel finished sixth in the all-around (36.600) and had no regrets in her final gymnastics meet.
“You put all the emotions together and you take the excitement and nervousness and it definitely added up,” she said. “I didn’t have my best performance, but I had so much fun out there. I said to myself before each event, ‘This is the last time you are going to do this, so take it all in.’ I did and I enjoy every second I was out there, whether I got the scored I wanted or not.”
Dickinson senior Jenna Mueller and Kessel will hang the 2014 North Dakota Class A state championship in the DHS gymnasium after the Midgets won the team title on Friday. Kessel said the feeling of being done with gymnastics hasn’t set in and it probably won’t for a while.
“It will finally hit me once I realized I don’t have to go to practice every day all year round,” she said with a smile. “I’m dreading the when it does happen.
“Honestly, the goal coming in here was to win state and we did that. That’s exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier.”
The only individual championship Keller won was the one every gymnast in the Bismarck Century High School gymnasium wanted — the state all-around title.
Keller finished one-tenth of a point ahead of Bismarck Century senior Jessica Gabriel, who was named senior athlete of the year, to win the state all-around title.
“Everyone has those risky parts in their routine and if you don’t hit it then it’s bad, because you have to hit everything,” said Keller, who finished with a score of 37.767.
Gabriel won individual titles in the vault (9.800) and bars (9.700). Fargo Davies senior Kiara Bock won the beam title (9.667).
Though Keller and Gabriel are on different teams, the Bismarck senior said she would have given anything to have the Century senior to be atop of the podium as well.
“It’s amazing and I wish she could have been up there with me,” Keller said with a smile. “I would have done anything for us to tie for first.
“Everyone thinks Bismarck and Century are rivals. We’re not. We are one team. If we could compete as one team, we would.”
Curt Sherbrooke, the head coach of Bismarck and Century, said it was a special moment to see two gymnasts leading the state in all-around. Sherbrooke was named coach of the year and is retiring from coaching after 32 seasons.
“They had a really good day,” he said. “They both had a few little falters here and there, but overall it was great. You can’t ask for too much more.”
1. Kaylee Keller, Bismarck, 37.767. 2. Jessica Gabriel, Century, 37.667. 3. Hannah Werchau, Minot, 37.517. 4. Acacia Fossum, Dickinson, 37.450. 5. Whitney Perrin, Century, 36.750. 6. Mikaela Kessel, Dickinson, 36.600. 7. Madison Reiter, Minot, 36.467. 8. Keana Kudrna, Dickinson, 36.433. 9. Katlin Kelley, Bismarck, 36.400. 10. (tie) Erin Hillerud, Jamestown, and Bethany Crump, Valley City, 35.700.
12. Taylor Johnson, Valley City, 35.550. 13. Jenna Breuer, Minot. 14. Stephanie Huether, Minot, 35.217. 15. Blythe Ehrmantraut, Bismarck, 34.900.
1. Jessica Gabriel, Century, 9.800. 2. Keana Kudrna, Dickinson 9.550. 3. Hannah Werchau, Minot, 9.467. 4. Madison Reiter, Minot, 9.450. 5. Acacia Fossum, Dickinson, 9.350. 6. Kaylee Keller, Bismarck, 9.333. 7. Whitney Perrin, Century, 9.300. 8. Mikaela Kessel, Dickinson, 9.183. 9. Katlin Kelley, Bismarck, 9.133. 10. Adisynn Widdel, Minot, 9.050.
11. Bethany Crump, Valley City, 8.983. 12. Lizzie Brown, Wahpeton, 8950. 13. (tie) Hailey Fix, Minot, and Stephanie Huether, Minot, 8.933. 15. (tie) Dacia Rambousek, Dickinson, and Quincee Simonson, Fargo, 8.900.
1. Jessica Gabriel, Century, 9.700. 2. Kaylee Keller, Bismarck, 9.667. 3. Keana Kudrna, Dickinson, 9.550. 4. Madison Reiter, Minot, 9.200. 5. Hannah Werchau, Minot, 9.183. 6. Acacia Fossum, Dickinson, 9.150. 7. Bethany Crump, Valley City, 9.017. 8. Jenna Breuer, Minot, 8.950. 9. Katlin Kelley, Bismarck, 8.850. 10. Erin Hillerud, Jamestown, 8.833.
11. Jenna Mueller, Dickinson, 8.800. 12. Mikaela Kessel, Dickinson, 8.783. 13. Faith Beck, Dickinson, 8.617. 14. Jill Mueller, Dickinson, 8.550. 15. Kelly Haman, Century, 8.500.
1. Kiara Bock, Fargo Davies, 9.667. 2. Whitney Perrin, Century, 9.533. 3. Quincee Simonson, Fargo, 9.417. 4. (tie) Katlin Kelley, Bismarck, and Hannah Werchau, Minot, 9.383. 6. Kaylee Keller, Bismarck, 9.333. 7. Acacia Fossum, Dickinson, 9.317. 8. Jill Mueller, DIckinson, 9.283. 9. Mikaela Kessel, Dickinson, 9.217. 10. Jenna Mueller, Dickinson, 9.183.
11. Savanah Fix, Minot, 9.150. 12. Taylor Johnson, Valley City, 9.117. 13. Anna Suppes, Fargo Davies, 9.067. 14. Mckenzie Swallow, Mandan, 8.933. 15. Jessica Gabriel, Century, 8.817.
1. Acacia Fossum, Dickinson, 9.633. 2. Keana Kudrna, Dickinson, 9.600. 3. Whitney Perrin, Century, 9.567. 4. Hannah Werchau, Minot, 9.483. 5. (tie) Kaylee Keller, Bismarck, and Bethany Crump, Valley City, 9.433. 7. Mikaela Kessel, Dickinson, 9.417. 8. Jenna Breuer, Minot, 9.400. 9. Jessica Gabriel, Century, 9.350. 10. Kiara Bock, Fargo Davies, 9.333.
11. Taylor Johnson, Valley City, 9.317. 12. (tie) Stephanie Huether, Minot, and Erin Hillerud, Jamestown, 9.267. 14. Adisynn Widdel, Minot, 9.233. 15. Jill Mueller, Dickinson, 9.067.
Senior athlete of the year: Jessica Gabriel, Century.
Coach of the year: Curt Sherbrooke, Century-Bismarck.