Jamestown High School gymnastics has flashed plenty of potential heading into Christmas break, which has veteran coach Dave Tews looking forward to the new year.
The Blue Jays scored a 136.70 on Friday, Dec. 21, in a dual with Grand Forks at Jamestown Gymnastics Club. The team tally was a tick under the Jays' season-best 138.0 put up Dec. 7 at the Dickinson Invite, but a shaky evening on beam against the visiting Knight Riders dampered what was arguably Jamestown's best overall performance through four competitions.
Grand Forks claimed the dual with a score of 140.80. The Knight Riders also placed just ahead of the Jays in Dickinson with a second-place 141.575.
"The judging was a little high in Dickinson, I thought. I felt better about this score than the 138," said Tews, who has coached Jamestown for 41 seasons. "We struggled staying on beam, but we were able to put together a respectable score. We're eking out just enough depth."
Jamestown is currently grooming a flock of younger athletes on a light-on-numbers varsity squad. Sophomore Rachel Schiele, a past state champion on beam, is one of Tews' veterans, but she was one of the athletes who struggled on beam Friday.
Schiele's 6.8 in the event tossed a wrench into her all-around mark, having posted solid numbers on the floor (9.45), vault (8.8) and the uneven bars (8.7).
"If you toss Rachel's beam out of there she had a great night," Tews said "I expect her scores to come up. These kids, they get a little taller and all of a sudden you've got a kid who's used to being shorter and they're not anymore. But she should be fine. She's working on some stuff and her 8.8 on vault was a vault that should score better at the end of the year."
Freshman Haley Nelson has so far been the rock at the top for Jamestown. Nelson won both vault (9.1) and floor (9.55), and captured bronze on both bars (8.85) and beam (8.75), en route to the dual's top all-around honors at 36.25.
Eighth-grader Emma Hillerud posted Jamestown's third-best all-around mark at 32.50, placing on vault, bars and beam with scores in the 8s. Blue Jay junior Courtney Mack finished seventh overall in the all-around (32.10), placing on vault and beam.
Blair Arbuckle, another eighth-grader for Tews and the Jays, placed in the top eight on both beam and bars.
"Courtney Mack had a great vault tonight (8.8)," Tews said. "And, Emma Hillerud has had a good couple weeks. It was tough for her to break into those top four to help us last year because we had depth."
The Blue Jays return to action Jan. 4 hosting the KC Invite. The four-team invite will be bringing Minot, Mandan and Valley City to town.
"We're doing OK with our top four scores, and there's potential if we'd put it all together," Tews said. "We're in a situation where we just have to stay away from injuries this year."
Grand Forks 140.80, Jamestown 136.700
Winners and Blue Jay results
All-around: 1. Haley Nelson, J, 36.250; 4. Rachel Schiele, J, 33.750; 6. Emma Hillerud, J, 32.50; 7. Courtney Mack, J, 32.10; 9. Blair Arbuckle 31.15.
Floor: 1. Nelson 9.55; 2. Schiele 9.45; 10. Erin Gee, J, 8.05; 11. Mack 7.95; 12. Arbuckle 7.65; 13. Hillerud 7.55; 15. Sadie Meissner, J, 6.95.
Beam: 1. Sydnee Spivey, GF, 9.3; 3. Nelson 8.75; 6. Mack 8.15; 7. (tie) Arbuckle 8.0; 12. Gee 7.15; 13. Schiele 6.8; 14. Meissner 6.7.
Bars: 1. (tie) Spivey 8.9; Katie Blackmun, GF, 8.9; 3. (tie) Nelson 8.85; 5. Schiele 8.7; 7. Hillerud 8.05; 8. Arbuckle 7.6; 10. Mack 7.2.
Vault: 1. Nelson 9.1; 3. (tie) Mack 8.8; Schiele 8.8; 7. (tie) Hillerud 8.5; 13. Gee 8.0; 14. Arbuckle 7.9; 15. Meissner 7.7.