Kudrna heads to gymnastics championshipDickinson eighth-grader Keana Kudrna has reached the top of the mountain in her division.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Dickinson eighth-grader Keana Kudrna has reached the top of the mountain in her division.
Kudrna is traveling to Minneapolis to compete in the USA Gymnastics Region 4 Championship on Sunday.
The eighth-grader is competing at Level 8 and has qualified for the Super 8 state team competition.
“Level 8 is the first level that can go to regionals,” Dickinson High head coach Kent Van Ells said. “Regionals for level 8 are the top of the line.”
Though she will be competing as a member of the North Dakota team, she will be judged on an individual level against the top eight gymnasts from South Dakota Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.
“The competition is tough in this group, because they are the best of the ones that made it,” Van Ells said.
Kudrna’s shrugged off making it to the Region 4 championship and said there’s no pressure.
“It’s definitely an exciting feeling,” Kudrna said. “I guess have no pressure of placing or not, because I don’t know what to expect.”
The nerves are nowhere to be found with Kudrna as she experiences her first major competition outside of North Dakota. She has a different plan.
“I’ll just probably take it all in and see what’s there,” she said.
The pressure was alleviated a bit when she was forced to change her routines. If she were to do certain moves that she did during the high school season, she would get deductions or receive zeroes on those events.
“She actually had to tone down some of her difficulty, because they didn’t allow her to do her most difficult things,” Van Ells said with a laugh.
Despite the skills being a little easier, there isn’t that one move that can make or break her routine. Kudrna knows consistency is going to be of the utmost importance.
“It’s easier skills, especially on floor,” Kudrna said. “It makes me feel more confident for the easier skills and not have so much pressure on the harder skills.”
Kudrna will compete on Team North Dakota with five gymnasts from Fargo and two from Grand Forks.
All of her routines going into the Region 4 championship have the highest mark of 10. Van Ells said that didn’t happen during the high school season.
“What it means is if she can do really well, theoretically, she could place on anything,” he said. “Not everyone goes there meeting the requirements that well. It’s just how well she does and how well she hits.”
On Wednesday, Kudrna was getting some extra practice and some encouragement from her high school teammates.
“She’s working really hard,” Dickinson sophomore Jenna Mueller said. “It shows all the other young gymnasts that she’s a good role model.”
Kudrna capped off her most recent high school season with an 18th-place finish in the all-around at the state meet. She also placed fourth in the vault. Van Ells has been impressed with her transition from her seventh- to eighth-grade year.
“A lot of confidence,” Van Ells said. “She had such a terrific high school year. She’s so much stronger this year than she was when she was a seventh-grader.”
Mueller can see the assurance in Kudrna’s routines building from the high school to club season.
“It will help her have confidence in what she knows that she can do,” Mueller said. “She can do it well and be able to go far with it.”