SAUK RAPIDS — It was a new experience this season for all the athletes in the Section 8AA gymnastics meet on Saturday. There was a good crowd and multiple schools competing at once for the first time this season.
Throughout the entire regular season, gymnastics teams were only allowed to compete against one other team. The ability to compete with four total teams in one session was new to everyone, but it didn’t phase these gymnasts.
Each team and individual gymnast had one goal in mind and that was to qualify for a state meet bid. Sartell-St. Stephen finished on top as a team and advanced to the state team meet next weekend, while many local gymnasts earned a spot at state for particular events or all-around.
The top team and top three finishers in all-around along with the top three individuals separate from the all-around finishers advanced to the state meet.
Sartell has been ranked No. 1 the majority of the season and the Sabres knew they had the team to not only return to state, but fight for that state title.
The Sabres earned second place at state that last two seasons and they’ve learned a lot from those two meets as the senior class gets ready for its final run at state.
“We understand how to handle the pressure of a state meet,” said Sartell senior Carly Yang. “We know what the environment will be like and now we’re just ready to leave everything out there.”
A perfect team score is 160 points (four events and a total of 40 points per event) and Sartell scored 147.925 in the section meet on Saturday. The Sabres have been scoring in the 147’s this season, but that ranks as the top score in Class AA all season long.
Sartell will have some tough competition at the Class AA state meet with Stillwater and Anoka right behind them. Stillwater has averaged a score of 147.863, while Anoka has a score of 146.088.
“We’ve been competing as a team all season long and we’ll continue to do that this next week,” said Sartell senior Emma Schwartz.
Sartell wasn’t the only local school that did well as a team. Tech/Cathedral/Apollo finished second behind the Sabres with a score of 145.525, while Sauk Rapids-Rice finished seventh with a score of 132.150.
The Sabres will get ready for the Class AA state meet which will take place at Champlin Park High School at 6 p.m. Saturday. Sartell will compete with Sections 1, 2 and 3 in its specific session at state.
Along with the team results, there are a handful of local individual gymnasts that advanced to state for either all-around or particular events.
Three local gymnasts took the top three spots in the all-around. Tech/Cathedral/Apollo’s Taylar Schaefer captured the top spot with a score of 37.950, while Sartell’s Marley Michaud and Carly Yang finished second and third with scores of 37.850 and 37.150.
Michaud earned first place in vault, floor and uneven bars, while Yang finished first in beam. Schaefer finished second or third in every single event on Saturday.
Catelyn Zack from Tech/Cathedral/Apollo earned the last spot in uneven bars with a score of 8.850 to punch her ticket to the state meet next weekend. She tied for fifth with Alexandria’s Kelsey Fletcher.
Carley Weisenbeck from Sauk Rapids also punched her ticket to state as she finished fifth on the beam with a score of 9.300, which landed her a spot at state.
Those five individuals will be representing the local area at the Class AA individual state meet at Champlin Park High School at 6 p.m. Saturday. The individual athletes will be competing with the teams due to the new COVID-19 rules and protocols. This session will include Section 1, 2, 3 and 8 while the rest of the sections will compete at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Section 8AA Gymnastics Results
Team Results: 1. Sartell (147.925) 2. Tech/Cathedral/Apollo (145.525) 3. Bemidji (143.900) 7. Sauk Rapids (132.150) (Sartell advances as a team to state)
All-Around: 1. Taylar Schaefer, Tech (37.950); 2. Marley Michaud, Sartell (37.850); 3. Carly Yang, Sartell (37.150)
Vault: 1. Marley Michaud, Sartell (9.775); 2. Lauren Berg, Bemidji (9.750); 3. Taylar Schaefer, Tech (9.725); 4. Kelsey Fletcher, Alexandria (9.375); 5. Breanna Deason, Brainerd (9.350); 10. Carly Yang, Sartell (9.175)
Uneven bars: 1. Marley Michaud, Sartell (9.400); 2. Taylar Schaefer, Tech (9.300); 3. Carly Yang, Sartell (9.200); 4. Tatum Offerdahl, Bemidji (9.175); T5. Kelsey Fletcher, Alexandria (8.850); T5. Catelyn Zack, Tech (8.850)
Beam: T1. Carly Yang, Sartell (9.450); T1. Josie Harguth, Brainerd (9.450); 3. Taylar Schaefer, Tech (9.425); 4. Lauren Berg, Bemidji (9.375); 5. Carley Weisenbeck, Sauk Rapids (9.300); T9. Marley Michaud, Sartell (9.150)
Floor: 1. Marley Michaud, Sartell (9.525); 2. Taylar Schaefer, Tech (9.500); 3. Madysen Schmidt, Bemidji (9.425); T4. Carly Yang, Sartell (9.325); T4. Kelsey Fletcher, Alexandria (9.325); T4. Breanna Deason, Brainerd (9.325)