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Kessel wins 2 events as Midgets ease to win

Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson junior Mikaela Kessel throws herself on the floor exercise as assistant coach Jennifer Bachamp, right, and her teammates watch Thursday night during the Dickinson Triangular gymnastics meet at the DHS gymnasium.

Mikaela Kessel has not been at full strength since the beginning of January.

The Dickinson junior didn't let that bother her Thursday night at the DHS gymnasium.

A month after suffering a mild concussion and nursing a sore ankle, Kessel powered her way to a pair of event wins, capturing the top score on both the balance beam and the floor exercise at the Dickinson Triangular.

"She was a real question mark coming into today," Dickinson head coach Kent Van Ells said. "I was really concerned and warm-ups did not go well for her today."

Van Ells' concerns faded the moment Kessel stepped onto the floor for her first event.

There, she was her usual self, scoring a 9.575 to edge her freshman teammate Acacia Fossum, who won the all-around with a 37.800 despite not winning an event, by a .025 of a point.

Later, she went to the balance beam and landed a 9.325 to edge Bismarck Century's Jessica Gabriel by the same miniscule margin she nipped Fossum.

"I was very happy," said Kessel, who placed third in the all-around with a 37.100. "I came in, I was hurting a little bit and practice was a little rough this week. I didn't know exactly how this performance was going to go, but can't complain one bit."

Neither can the Midgets, who posted a 149.225 team score for the win. Bismarck High was second with a 140.475 and Century was third at 139.750 despite Gabriel placing second in the all-around with a 37.500 and a win on the vault with a 9.575.

Overall, Van Ells said it was a great night for the Midgets, who are now idle until they host the West Region Meet on Friday, Feb. 15.

"It really bodes well," Van Ells said.

Fossum, despite not winning an event, was firing on all cylinders again too. She is coming back from a muscle pull that kept her out for more than a month earlier this season.

She was second on bars (9.550) and floor (9.550) and third on beam (9.225) and vault (9.475).

"It shows her steadiness and how solid she can be," Van Ells said. "She finally did the bar dismount she hadn't done since before Christmas. She's done a lot of them in the pit, but not in a competitive situation. I knew she could do it, but I wasn't sure she could actually pull it off."

The coach was impressed with many of the Midgets, including seniors Mckenzie Kostelecky and Chantal Urlacher, who finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the all-around.

Kostelecky had a 36.00 and Urlacher a 35.375. Kostelecky was fourth on the vault (9.425) and Urlacher was fourth with a season-high score of 9.200 on the uneven bars, an event won by Bismarck's Kaylee Keller with a 9.650.

"I'm really happy," Van Ells said. "I think if we can do this well at WDA and state, it'll be tough for Minot to get us. I'm not saying they can't, but it'll be tough. We've got to do this well."

Dickinson Triangular

Team scores: Dickinson 149.225, Bismarck High 140.475, Bismarck Century 139.750.

All around: 1, Acacia Fossum, D, 37.800. 2, Jessica Gabriel, C, 37.500. 3, Mikaela Kessel, D, 37.100. 5, Kaylee Keller, B, 36.675. 6, Mckenzie Kostelecky, D, 36.000. 7, Chantal Urlacher, D, 35.375. 8, Katlin Kelley, B, 35.350.

Balance beam: 1, Kessel, D, 9.325. 2, Gabriel, C, 9.300. 3 (tie), Jenna Mueller, D, and Acacia Fossum, D, 9.225. 5 (tie), Sophia Thompson, C, and Kostelecky, D, 9.025. 7 (tie), Keana Kudrna, D, and Kelley, B, 8.625.

Floor exercise: 1, Kessel, D, 9.575. 2, Fossum, D, 9.550. 3, Keller, B, 9.450. 4, Gabriel, C, 9.425. 5, Urlacher, D, 9.275. 6, Jill Mueller, D, 9.125. 7, Kostelecky, D, 9.100. 8, Kelley, B, 8.975.

Uneven bars: 1, Keller, B, 9.650. 2, Fossum, D, 9.550. 3, Kudrna, D, 9.425. 4 (tie), Urlacher, D, and Gabriel, C, 9.200. 6, Kessel, D, 9.000. 7 (tie), Jill Mueller, D, and Kelley, 8.700.

Vault: 1, Gabriel, C, 9.575. 2, Kudrna, D, 9.525. 3, Fossum, D, 9.475. 4, Kostelecky, D, 9.425. 5, Urlacher, D, 9.300. 6, Whitney Perrin, C, 9.275. 7, Kessel, D, 9.200. 8, Keller, 9.100.

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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