Midgets gymnastics repeat as WDA champion
MINOT — After the Dickinson High gymnastics team completed its third event at the WDA Championship meet, the girls sat on a mat near the balance beam, waiting for their turn.
They waited, and waited, and waited.
Previously competing on the uneven bars, the Midgets were idle nearly an hour. At approximately the 30-minute mark, assistant head coach Casey Kostelecky instructed the gymnasts to stand up and get loose.
"It does have an effect, but they did really well despite that," Midgets head coach Kent Van Ells said. "If you can, you want to space out the events. We thought after bars, we were going to come up quicker on beam. ... Sitting there, they will lose some of their warmth."
When the time finally came to perform, the smallest Midget created some magic at the Gymagic Center.
With a score of 9.475, seventh-grader Addison Fitterer took home a regional title on the beam, successfully pulling off an aerial and a tick-tock back handspring before cleanly landing a back handspring dismount.
"I wasn't really thinking," Fitterer said, "I was just kind of doing stuff."
Standing on top of the podium to be recognized in front of the crowd, Fitterer, and her miniature frame, rose both of her arms in the air to arguably the loudest cheer of the night. Beside the seventh-grader were senior Meghan Ackerman and junior Ayanna Fossum, who at their heights, almost appeared taller than Fitterer despite being closer to the ground.
"I was a little surprised," Fitterer said of the crowd's reaction, "but it made me feel good."
For the second consecutive year and for the 20th time overall, the Midgets became WDA champions, winning the meet with a team score of 147.3 on Friday, Feb. 15.
Jamestown finished second with a mark of 139.925, followed by Bismarck Legacy, Bismarck High, and Bismarck Century. It is Dickinson's ninth meet victory of the season.
"We came in with a lot of confidence, and at least I felt, that if we had a good meet, we should win the meet. And we did by about seven points, which is quite a range," Van Ells said. "We did have a good meet. It wasn't perfect, we had some falls, but we had some real good performances, we had some WDA champions, and overall I feel good."
Fossum led the march to the title, as she captured the All-Around with a score of 37.675. Finishing no worse than second through the four events, the junior shined the brightest on the vault, taking the event with a score of 9.625.
"My first vault, I fell and it made me a little nervous," Fossum said. "But that's what I've been practicing on in practice, cause I know could have a good vault, I just need to fix a couple of things up. I've been trying to make my vaults higher and have more power. I did that today and I'm happy today."
Bismarck High junior Kate Dillman was second, followed by Jamestown sophomore Rachel Schiele, Ackerman, and Blue Jays freshman Haley Nelson, who took home the regional title in the uneven bars.
Dickinson's first event was on the floor. Fossum, who considers the floor exercise her strength, earned a mark of 9.5 right off the bat.
"I think the whole team would agree that we'd prefer vault, bars, beam, and floor in that order," Fossum said. "We haven't had that order all year. ... But I think at state, we'll get vault, bars, beam, and floor because we are the No. 1 ranked team, that's going to really help us."
Minot freshman Bella Price won the floor exercise, with a score of 9.6 after cleanly landing all of her passes.
"I have panic attacks before I go, so I was just trying to stay calm," Price said. "We work on floor all week, so I was pretty confident in what I was doing, and my coaches were pumping me up. I was excited, I gave it all that I got, and I tried making everything big and finishing everything."
Team scores: 1, Dickinson High, 147.3. 2, Jamestown, 139.925. 3, Bismarck Legacy, 138.975. 4, Bismarck High, 132.725. 5, Bismarck Century, 124.55. 6, Mandan, 121.875. 7, Minot, 67.275.
1, Ayanna Fossum, D, 37.675. 2, Kate Dillman, BH, 36.6. 3, Rachel Schiele, J, 36.4. 4, Meghan Ackerman, D, 36.15. 5, Haley Nelson, J, 36.0. 8, Amy Fridley, D, 35.875. 9, Dacia Rambousek, D, 35.8. 10, Brooklyn Deguzman, D, 35.6.
1, Fossum, D, 9.625. 2, Madison Deics, BL, 9.4. T3, Dillman, BH, 9.375. T3, Bella Price, Mi., 9.375. T3, Fridley, D, 9.375. 6, Brinklyn Schumacher, D, 9.3. 7, Ackerman, D, 9.1. T8, Deguzman, D, 9.050.
1, Nelson, J, 9.35. 2, Fossum, D, 9.1. 3, Schiele, J, 9.05. 4, Rambousek, D, 9.025. 5, Elicca Stugelmeyer, BL, 8.925. 6, Schumacher, D, 8.875. 8, Deguzman, D, 8.725. 9, Ackerman, D, 8.7. 10, Fridley, D, 8.625.
1, Addison Fitterer, D, 9.475. 2, Fossum, D, 9.45. 3, Ackerman, D, 9.25. T4, Price, Mi., 9.175. T4, Joanne Lee, BL, 9.175. 10, Rambousek, D, 8.775.
1, Price, Mi., 9.6. 2, Fossum, D, 9.5. 3, Schiele, J, 9.375. 4, Nelson, J, 9.35. T5, Dillman, BH, 9.3. T5, Rambousek, D, 9.3. 7, Fridley, D, 9.25. 8, Deguzman, D, 9.175. 9, Ackerman, 9.1. 10, Schumacher, D, 9.05.
WDA Senior Athlete of the Year: Dacia Rambousek, Dickinson High.
WDA Co-Coaches of the Year: Kent Van Ells, Dickinson High. Amanda Lantz, Mandan.