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Acacia Fossum takes second at highest level of USA Gymnastics state meet, goes to regionals

Despite finishing her prestigious career as a high school gymnast, Acacia Fossum isn't quite done with the sport -- not by a long shot.Fossum, a Richardton-Taylor senior who won five all-around state titles with Dickinson High, took runner-up in ...

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Acacia Fossum traditions from the low bar to the high bar during her uneven bars routine during the USA Gymnastics state championships Friday at Dickinson High gymnasium. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

Despite finishing her prestigious career as a high school gymnast, Acacia Fossum isn’t quite done with the sport - not by a long shot.
Fossum, a Richardton-Taylor senior who won five all-around state titles with Dickinson High, took runner-up in the Level 10 USA Gymnastics state championships on Friday at DHS gymnasium. Fossum’s all-around score of 34.875 qualified her for the Region 4 championships to be held April 8-10 in St. Louis.
Representing Dickinson Gymnastics, Fossum won the uneven bars with an 8.225 score and tied for first on the balance beam with 9.175. She scored 8.7 in the vault and 8.775 on her floor exercise routine.
“I still work just as hard as those girls,” Fossum said of the Level 10 competition. “I’m competing every week just like them, it’s just a different skill level. It’s really reassuring that I can qualify.”
Though Fossum won the event last year at Level 9, she said this finish was special in its own right considering it was against some of the state’s best.
Fossum lost to Britany Young of American Gold Gymnastics of Fargo by the slimmest of margins. Young scored a 34.900 in the all-around after winning the vault with a 9.075 and the floor with 9.125.
However, it wasn’t the easiest day for Fossum. She couldn’t stick her first vault landing and fell during her uneven bars routine while transitioning from the low bar to the high bar. But she still scored well enough to take the bars title.
“I started off kind of rough. I wasn’t super happy with my first vault and then I fell on bars,” Fossum said. “But I finished off my last two events a lot better, and I just kept that momentum going throughout the whole meet.”
Dickinson coach Kent Van Ells said Fossum has been working to infuse new techniques into her routines as a result of going up against higher-level competition.
“To get to nationals, she’s going to have to hit all of her events. There’s going to be a lot more pressure on her,” Van Ells said. “She’s a good enough gymnast obviously to make it to regionals. … She’ll have to be really honed in, but I think she’s capable of it.”
While Van Ells said some try to compete at Level 10 even though their talent may not be up to standard, Fossum was up to the challenge.
“She had to do some new things at this level for bonus,” Van Ells said. “She missed the one skill on bars, but other than that she had a pretty good day.”
Even after the fall, Fossum recovered with her winning beam routine and did more than enough to meet her goal of qualifying for regionals after the floor event.
“I think after so many years of doing gymnastics, I don’t carry the falls with me anymore,” Fossum said. “It happens. It’s fine. Once I got to beam, I just told myself, ‘Just stay on the beam. You have a goal today.’”
It wasn’t an easy transition from high school competition to USA Gymnastics, Van Ells said. Less than three weeks after winning her fifth career state high school title, Fossum turned around and infused the more challenging routines to stay up to par.
And she may just crank it up further now that she’s going to regionals in three weeks.
“I’m just really happy that I made it this far,” Fossum said. “I’m hoping I make it farther.”

All-around: Britany Young, American Gold Gymnastics, 34.9; Acacia Fossum, Dickinson, 34.875; Faith Sersland, AGG, 34.6; Leah Messelt, AGG, 34.1; Shannon Doyle, AGG, 33.075; Reedyn Hansen, AGG, 33.025; McKenna Wettstein, AGG, 32.075.
Floor exercise: Young, AGG, 9.125; Sersland, AGG, 8.975; Hansen, AGG, 8.85; Fossum, D, 8.775; Messelt, AGG, 8.725; Doyle, AGG, 8.675; Wettstein, 8.425.
Balance beam: Fossum, D, 9.175; Messelt, AGG, 9.175; Sersland, AGG, 8.85; Young, AGG, 8.75; Doyle, AGG, 8.5; Wettstein, AGG, 7.55; Hansen, AGG, 7.5.
Uneven parallel bars: Fossum, D, 8.225; Hansen, AGG, 8.125; Sersland, AGG, 8.025; Young, AGG, 7.95; Wettstein, AGG, 7.6; Messelt, AGG, 7.4; Doyle, AGG, 7.2.
Vault: Young, AGG, 9.075; Messelt, AGG, 8.8; Sersland, AGG, 8.75; Fossum, D, 8.7, Doyle, AGG, 8.7; Hansen, AGG, 8.55; Wettstein, AGG, 8.5.

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