Midgets use West meet to gear up for stateThe countdown to the state gymnastics meet begins today and Dickinson’s girls are ready to make their move.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The countdown to the state gymnastics meet begins today and Dickinson’s girls are ready to make their move.
The Midgets enter the West Region meet today at Jamestown High School with a state-best 147.765 team score average.
“It’s a way to feel some extra pressure that you would feel at a state meet,” Dickinson head coach Kent Van Ells said. “Therefore, we hope to have an experience that will help us have a similar feeling to what state is like.”
Eighth-grader Acacia Fossum is the top-ranked gymnast in the all-around (38.433 average), the balance beam (9.617), floor exercise (9.742) and uneven bars (9.742).
She ranks third in the vault behind Bismarck senior MacKenzie Keidel (9.792) and Minot freshman Samantha Huether (9.617). Fossum averages a 9.583, just ahead of senior teammate Shalesa Wariner (9.575).
While Fossum is the frontrunner for several individual championships, she is more focused on doing her routines the right way now in preparation for the state meet, which DHS hosts Feb. 24 and 25.
“I’m focused on that (winning events), but I just want to make sure I hit everything,” she said. “That’s the main part. I want to prove I can do that.”
Van Ells and the Midgets are just thankful the meet is being held somewhere other than Minot.
The Magic City just hasn’t seemed too enchanting to the visiting Midgets the past two years.
Last season, the Midgets lost to Minot on its home floor in the West Region meet. This season, it suffered another tough loss there.
Fossum was third in the all-around when Minot hosted the West Region meet last season but won the uneven bars. Kessel won the balance beam as Fossum fell in competition for the first time in her career.
“I for sure want to do better than I did last year and place higher in at least one event,” Fossum said. “Last year was not good.”
Minot presents Dickinson with its toughest challenge of the West Region meet. The Majettes rank second behind the Midgets in team score rankings with a 144.530 average. Bismarck High is a close third at 144.080.
“I think it should just be interesting to see where we stand,” said Wariner, who is ranked eighth in the state all-around standings.
The West Region meet is a precursor to the state meet, but it’s also a tune-up event for some of the state’s most talented high school gymnasts.
The top 11-ranked gymnasts in the all-around are from West Region teams. Dickinson has three (Fossum, Wariner and No. 6 Mikaela Kessel). Four other teams have two: Bismarck (No. 2 Keidel and No. 5 Kaylee Keller), Century (No. 3 Jessica Gabriel and No. 7 Jennifer Albers), Jamestown (No. 4 Alex Lind and No. 9 Mercedes Westereng) and Minot (No. 10 Huether and No. 11 Misha Taylor).
“Acacia still has an edge, but it’s not a big one,” Van Ells said.