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Dukart wins two events, Midgets earn team victory

If Kelsey Dukart would have competed in the uneven parallel bars, there's little doubt she would have walked away with her second consecutive all-around win.

If Kelsey Dukart would have competed in the uneven parallel bars, there's little doubt she would have walked away with her second consecutive all-around win.

However, by not competing in the event, the Dickinson High freshman gymnast had to settle for a pair of first places, a runner-up finish and a team title at the Fern Pokorny Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Dickinson High School.

The Midgets had a 141.900 team score to hold off Jamestown, Rapid City (S.D.) Central and Rapid City Stevens while Dukart won both the floor exercise and vault and took second on the balance beam.

"Everyone did really good," Dukart said

Trouble on the bars in practice earlier in the week led to a decision by Dickinson coach Kent Van Ells to hold Dukart out of the event.

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"She certainly had a good day without the bars. We certainly expect her to do everything next week," Van Ells said. "She certainly was missed in that event. We'll expect it to work next week. It's just one of those things."

Dukart had a career-best 9.300 on the vault after sticking back-to-back attempts.

She then distanced herself from everyone - including all-around champion Hollie Bloom of Rapid City Central - in the floor exercise. Dukart scored a 9.275 on the floor, which was .125 better than Bloom, who won with a 35.850. Had Dukart competed on the bars, she would have needed an 8.250 to tie Bloom.

"I hope she (Dukart) gets better next week in practice and goes for things. I know she can do it," said Dickinson senior Lexi Stickel, who finished second in the all-around. "I think she had a little mental block on bars and didn't do her giants this week."

Bloom, who is in her first year of high school gymnastics after spending eight years competing for the Just Gymnastics club team in Rapid City, scored a 35.850 to notch her first career win.

The junior finished second in the floor, tied Dickinson's Brogan Burwick for second on the vault, tied Jamestown's Brittany Mittleider for third on the balance beam and was sixth on the bars.

"This is my first year doing all this high school stuff, so it's kind of surprising," Bloom said. "I'm not used to all this, I don't know, glory."

Randy Hagen, who coaches both Central and Stevens, believes the sky is the limit for Bloom.

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"She's a pretty talented young lady and she has a lot of potential," Hagen said. "As she begins to understand some of the rules, connections and routines, once she gets some of that figured out she'll continue to improve throughout the year."

Rapid City Stevens senior Jenna Schroeder won the balance beam with a 9.075 and was in the hunt for the all-around win heading into the bars, her final event of the day. However, her left knee buckled on her dismount and she tied for eighth in the event.

Stickel and Dickinson's Brogan Burwick fell just short of capturing the all-around title with scores of 35.275 and 35.125 to finish second and third, respectively. However, the senior was excited about her team's second win in as many weeks.

"We all just came out today knowing this was the meet we needed to do good at," Stickel said. "... Everyone just knew this was the meet we needed to do good at so we could try to be undefeated this season."

Dickinson will try and keep winning next Friday at the Bismarck Invitational.

Van Ells was pleased with the victory but felt the Midgets have much room for improvement.

"To come out and still be able to come out on top and win, despite not having a good meet, it makes me feel like we have some depth and strength," Van Ells said.

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