Jamestown High School went for broke Friday, Feb. 22, hosting the team competition of the state gymnastics meet at Jerry Meyer Arena.
Coach Dave Tews and his assistants dialed up Jamestown's best chance at a second-place finish for the first time since 1971, but the Blue Jays' marks came in roughly three-tenths of a point behind Bismarck Legacy. Dickinson High School, the odds-on favorite all season, cruised to a fourth consecutive state championship (146.084) and the Blue Jays placed third to the Sabers 142.435 to 142.134.
Jamestown shattered its previous season high score of 141.400.
"We look at it as coaches and talk about who we're going to put on each event," Tews said. "Today most of them worked, and usually that doesn't happen. It's like, 'Dang, I should of.'
"The right kids were out there, they performed well and we had our best score of the year. That's all you can ask of the kids."
The Blue Jays finished second on the balance beam (34.666) and floor exercise (37.117), but placed fifth on vault (35.818). Dickinson swept three of the four events, placing fourth on beam (34.367).
"Today, beam was a little off, but every other event went well and it was enough to win," said Dickinson coach Kent VanElls, who explained the Midgets' 12th team championship and sixth in the last seven seasons, was a season-long work in progress. "They started out a little tough. They weren't hitting very well at the beginning of the year, and as the season rolled on they just got more and more consistent."
The race for second between Jamestown and Legacy went down to the last performance. Following a team-high 9.217 turned in on vault by Jamestown freshman Haley Nelson, Legacy's Elicca Stugelmeyer just needed a clean balance beam routine to place the Sabers ahead of the Jays.
Stugelmeyer was up to the challenge, scoring a 9.15.
"I think we did the best that we could and we're all super proud of it," said Nelson, who has been battling a sore left ankle. "It's been bothering me for awhile, and then today it just really started to hurt, but it should be fine."
Nelson has the best shot, statistically, at an individual title today during the state individual competition. Her season best floor routine of 9.8 is tied for the top mark in the state with defending floor champion Ayanna Fossum of Dickinson.
The individual competition begins with introductions at 12:45 p.m.
"I definitely get nervous, but I just try to keep it in and do my best," Nelson said.
Regardless of where the Blue Jays placed as a team Friday, what can't be denied is how far Tews' young Jays flew this winter. Jamestown's first team score of the season totaled 130.500, which, at the time, surprised the veteran coach.
"The kids have really stepped up. All of a sudden they started to get some really good scores and thought, 'Hey, we can do this,'" Tews said. "They've made the little improvements and (142.134) is an awesome score. This is a testament to the kids that stuck around and worked hard."
N.D. High School State Gymnastics Meet
At Jamestown High School
1. Dickinson 146.084; 2. Bismarck Legacy 142.435; 3. Jamestown 142.134; 4. Grand Forks 140.268; 5. Valley City 137.630; 6. Bismarck 133.434; 7. Fargo Davies 130.083; 8. Wahpeton 127.099.
1. Dickinson 37.434; 2. Legacy 36.201; 3. Grand Forks 35.934; 4. Valley City 35.850; 5. Jamestown 35.818; 6. Davies 35.284; 7. Bismarck 34.800; 8. Wahpeton 34.016.
1. Dickinson 36.483; 2. Legacy 34.850; 3. Jamestown 34.533; 4. Grand Forks 34.101; 5. Valley City 32.666; 6. Bismarck 30.899; 7. Wahpeton 30.483; 8. Davies 30.133.
1. Bismarck 34.734; 2. Jamestown 34.666; 3. Legacy 34.483; 4. Dickinson 34.367; 5. Grand Forks 33.416; 6. Valley City 33.097; 7. Davies 30.366; 8. Wahpeton 29.366.
1. Dickinson 37.800; 2. Jamestown 37.117; 3. Legacy 36.901; 4. Grand Forks 36.817; 5. Valley City 36.017; 6. Davies 34.300; 7. Wahpeton 33.234; 8. Bismarck 33.001.