Dickinson's chances strong at state gymnastics
The Dickinson High gymnastics team took top honors at the Western Dakota Association meet last weekend. This weekend, the top-ranked Midgets travel to Bismarck to compete for North Dakota state team competition today and individual competition Sa...
The Dickinson High gymnastics team took top honors at the Western Dakota Association meet last weekend.
This weekend, the top-ranked Midgets travel to Bismarck to compete for North Dakota state team competition today and individual competition Saturday.
Every member of the Dickinson High team has qualified in every event including freshman Melissa Bachamp who was unable to compete last weekend due to a toe injury.
"Melissa was out last weekend and she wasn't able to compete," VanElls said. "She qualified for state before conference. She's been doing all right this week and she's ready to go."
With eight spots in every event, the Midgets have put themselves in position to fare very well at the state meet.
"I think they're pretty fired up about it," Midgets coach Kent VanElls said. "Last year all of them qualified in something and we had several qualify in all around, but we haven't done this before."
Dickinson is ranked first in the state followed by Minot, Jamestown and Bismarck High - all teams the Midgets faced and defeated last weekend.
However, the Majettes and the Midgets have had a strong rivalry this season. The WDA meet was the first time Dickinson topped Minot this season.
"They didn't have their best meet at conference," VanElls said of the Majettes. "We can't assume they'll have the amount of trouble they did at conference. We have to expect Minot to be at their best.
"However, if we do our stuff right, if we do a good job, there's a real good chance we could win no matter what they do."
Defending state champion Grand Forks is having a down year after losing a pair of leading seniors.
The other strong contender from the East is an individual - Fargo South senior Chelsea Preston.
"She's a strong favorite," VanElls said. "Any coach in North Dakota would say the same thing. In most of the events, if she hits her routine, nobody would be close to her."
Preston will surely be a challenge to the Midgets on Saturday.
When South came to Dickinson in January, Preston placed first in every event, but was the sole place-winner for the Bruins.
The Midgets have proved they have several strong individuals too with Lexi Stickel, Mara VanElls, Jennifer Bachamp, Brogan Burwick and Kelsey Dukart all taking individual championships in the five events last weekend.
With so many top-scoring individuals, Dickinson's greatest strength all season has been its depth.
"It is possible to have people fall," VanElls said. "But we have enough strength down the line to help out. I think we have an unusual amount of depth compared to the other teams."