Midgets say they’re tired of 2nd placeThe Dickinson High gymnastics team has been on the cusp of being state champions for the last three years.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson High gymnastics team has been on the cusp of being state champions for the last three years.
Falling runner-up to Minot High in the last three state meets, the Midgets are ready to end the Majettes run as they host the North Dakota state gymnastics meet starting today at DHS gymnasium.
The team competition begins at 4 p.m. today and the individual championships start at noon Saturday.
“We definitely want this,” Dickinson senior Shalesa Wariner said. “We’re worked so hard and we definitely deserve it.”
The Midgets’ consistency this season has been an influence on their high team scores.
Though injuries have plagued Dickinson throughout the course of the season, head coach Kent Van Ells has been pleased with the scoring averages.
“We’ve been real consistent,” Van Ells said. “Considering that we have gone through a few injuries and things. We are the healthiest that we’ve been since Christmas.”
Dickinson has eighth-grader Acacia Fossum looking to repeat as the state all-around champion. She also won the floor exercise and balance beam as a seventh-grader.
“I want to win, but even if I don’t, I know there are so many other good girls out there that it could be anybody’s competition,” Fossum said.
Fossum will be the first to admit, she had no idea what she was getting herself into, but the comfort factor is there in her second state meet.
“Last year I had no idea what I was doing,” Fossum said with a laugh. “I just kind of went out there and did whatever I could and I feel this year I’m more prepared.”
Returning a little stronger, wiser and more prepared has skyrocketed Fossum to some of the state’s best averages this season. Fossum leads the state in the all-around with a 38.433 average. She also ranked first in the beam (9.617), floor (9.783) and uneven bars (9.742).
The only event Fossum doesn’t lead is the vault. She’s third in that with a 9.583 average. Bismarck High senior MacKenzie Keidel leads with a 9.792.
“She has the possibly of winning every event,” Van Ells said of Fossum. “With the vault being the exception, there are a couple girls that if they hit, they will come out first and second. In the other four events, she’s ranked first.”
The Midgets are accompanied by sophomore Mikaela Kessel. She ranks seventh in the all-around (37.092). Her two strongest events are the balance beam (9.475) and floor (9.692).
“The beam and floor are definitely in her realm of possible state championship,” Van Ells said.
Dickinson’s third gymnast is Wariner, who is eighth in the all-around (36.65) and has a top five average in the vault (9.575).
One gymnast that had been injured for the last month of the season is Mckenzie Kostelecky. The junior suffered a knee injury, but has been slowing working her way back. Van Ells expects to compete in every event at the state meet.
“I would call her 100 percent back,” he said. “The only thing is that she’s been 100 percent back for about a week, but she will compete on everything.”
The final all-around gymnast competing for the Midgets is Keana Kudrna. The eighth-grader has been a surprise for the Midgets.
“Keana has potential to be a very top gymnast,” Van Ells said. “She has improved a lot since last year on everything. She has a lot of good, high level skills.”
Sophomore Jenna Mueller has the third-best average in the state on the balance beam at 9.483.
Dickinson’s gymnasts are brimming with excitement to host the state meet. The only thing that would make it sweeter is if they could come away state champions.
“I just think we’ve came up so short in the last couple years,” Kessel said. “I hope we can turn all that sadness that we remember into our success this weekend.”