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Blue Jays soaring into state meet

Jamestown High School gymnastics is carrying the second-best scoring average in the state this season. If the Blue Jays are able to make that stick while hosting the state team meet Friday at Jerry Meyer Arena, it'll mark the program's best finis...

The Blue Jay gymnastics team is ready for the state meet set for Friday and Saturday at Jamestown High School. Wednesday's practice theme was "beach scene" as members donned their attire. Pictured, front row, from left, is Haley Nelson, Rachel Schiele, Emma Hillerud and Courtney Mack. Back row, from left, is Hannah Schiele, Alexis Triebenbach, Makenna O'Neal and Abby Kallenbach. Not pictured is Brenna Hatch. John M. Steiner / The Sun
The Blue Jay gymnastics team is ready for the state meet set for Friday and Saturday at Jamestown High School. Wednesday's practice theme was "beach scene" as members donned their attire. Pictured, front row, from left, is Haley Nelson, Rachel Schiele, Emma Hillerud and Courtney Mack. Back row, from left, is Hannah Schiele, Alexis Triebenbach, Makenna O'Neal and Abby Kallenbach. Not pictured is Brenna Hatch. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown High School gymnastics is carrying the second-best scoring average in the state this season.

If the Blue Jays are able to make that stick while hosting the state team meet Friday at Jerry Meyer Arena, it'll mark the program's best finish since 1971.

"I think we can. And, of course, I think we will," said Blue Jay gymnastics coach Dave Tews.

Jamestown's top-five scoring averaging of 142.235 sits second to only Dickinson's 148.985. Bismarck, who edged Jamestown last week for second at the West Region meet, is third at 141.460.

The Midgets will be attempting a state team title three-peat Friday. Competition is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

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"Like we've talked about all year, it would be great to go toe-to-toe with Dickinson," Tews said. "But there is no defense in gymnastics. We can't hold them back.

"We can only go on the offensive and do the best we can."

The state's top eight teams-Dickinson, Jamestown, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Valley City, Minot, Bismarck Legacy and Fargo Davies-will battle for the title, with each team being limited to six entries per event.

Jamestown didn't score its best meet at last Friday's regional in Dickinson, finishing third at 141.575. But the Jays have scored as high as 143.4 this winter, which is the third-best score in the program's history.

"A lot of our kids were maybe just a little off at the WDA," Tews said. "I would like to think they shouldn't be off two weeks in a row, and when I say 'off', I mean very little."

The Blue Jays finished fourth in the state team competition last season (142.317) and soared during the individual portion of the tournament, led by a state championship on beam by Rachel Schiele.

The individual portion of this week's state meet begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, back at Jerry Meyer Arena.

Schiele, a freshman, and Dickinson sophomore Ayanna Fossum are both carrying a state-best 9.7 on beam. Fossum is the defending floor exercise champion and is the only gymnast in Jamestown this weekend to have posted a score over 38.0 in the all-around this season.

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Fossum and Fargo Davies senior Anna Suppes have both scored a state-best 9.8 on floor. Jamestown eighth-grader Haley Nelson is carrying the third-best floor average with a high of 9.65. Nelson placed fourth in the event one year ago.

Bismarck freshman Julia Red Wing should also be on folks' radar this weekend. She's the defending all-around, vault and bars state champion.

Jamestown senior Hannah Schiele, the West Region senior athlete of the year, is also a viable threat on floor, carrying the state's sixth-best scoring average. Hannah Schiele finished 10th in the event at last year's state individual meet, while also placing fifth in the state all-around.

"Haley, Rachel and Hannah could all be in the running on floor," Tews said. "We've got kids who can place on everything. It all depends if they hit on their routines and if others should falter.

"I always tell the girls if somebody opens that door, get your foot in there."

Nelson, the Schiele sisters, senior Alexis Triebenbach and freshman McKenna O'Neal will all be competing in the individual all-around. Junior Abby Kallenbach and sophomore Courtney Mack will join the foursome in competition on vault.

Triebenbach and Blue Jay seventh-grader Brenna Hatch will also be competing on floor on day 2.

Nelson, the Schieles, Triebenbach, O'Neal and Hillerud have all earned spots to compete Saturday on bars. Nelson and Rachel Schiele finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in the event last season, and are ranked sixth and seventh this weekend.

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Hannah Schiele, Nelson, Triebenbach, O'Neal and Hatch will join defending champ Rachel Schiele in competing on beam.

"It should be fun and the girls are really looking forward to it," Tews said. "Hopefully we can keep kids' names on that leaderboard all day."

Related Topics: JAYS
Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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