The Dickinson High School gymnastics team was already four points ahead of their competitors when Amy Fridely stepped onto the floor and performed her floor routine.
Forty-five minutes later it was announced that Fridley had helped lock up Dickinson's sixth-consecutive state team title.
"The girls were just on and they wanted it," Dickinson head coach Casey Berry said. "They went out and they did it. We just really preach that you never work down, you always keep working up and they really have bought into that."
Dickinson strung together a team score of 148.5 points, beating out state runner-up Valley City by 2.75 points. The Midgets have won eight of the last nine state team championship titles. The 2020-21 state meet will conclude tomorrow with the individual competition beginning at noon.
It all started in the first rotation.
After saluting the judges, Fridley stepped onto the vaulting runway and locked her eyes on the springboard and the table. Fridley took off and, flat-out sprinting, she extended her hands toward the table and launched herself in the air. After completing her two flips she stuck the landing. Her teammates erupted in cheers Berry pulled the sophomore in for a hug.
"Her vault was beautiful and she was great on every event," Berry said. "She was just kind of in the shadows of (Acacia and Ayanna) Fossum ... she's always been around but this year I think she understood that that role was her's to play now. She's really just owned it and she wants to be the best. She works for it and she's earned it."
Fridley wasn't the only one who managed to stick the landing off the table. The Midgets soared high to a team score of 37.517 on vault and capitalized on some costly mistakes made by Jamestown on the beam to widen the gap between themselves and the 2020 state runners-up.
Jamestown was edged out of second place in the last rotation as Valley City had pieced together scores just a little bit better on three of the four events. The Blue Jays were 2.517 points behind Dickinson coming out of the first rotation having put up a team score of 35.0 -- nearly three points ahead of where they landed last week at the West Region meet.
The Midgets and Blue Jays both ended up with falls in the second rotation but the Jays' four falls on beam proved more costly and the gap between the two teams widened. Dickinson swung to a 35.883 performance on the bars while the Blue Jays dismounted the beam with 35.633 team points.
The Blue Jays ended up third in the team competition scoring a 144.40.
"I think the kids performed well -- they are very, very disappointed -- I think kids think they could have stepped up more in some areas but you can't put it all on yourself," JHS head coach Dave Tews said. "Overall they did well, you can't be disappointed."
Valley City put up strong numbers on floor in the third rotation tumbling to a 37.717. The impressive tumbles followed a 36.733 vault score and 35.667 on the uneven bars. The Hi-Liners were a mere 0.366 points behind Dickinson heading into the final rotation.
The Jays fell into the No. 4 spot as Legacy averaged more than 35 points in each of the first three events rounding out the top-three teams. After three solid performances on floor from Brenna Hatch, Julia Skari and Haley Nelson, all resulting in 9s or higher, the Blue Jays waited in anticipation for the final scores to be announced.
It wasn't much of a surprise when the state champs were announced.
"We felt comfortable if we could just go out and hit stuff," Berry said. "They understand that they need to work up to the higher levels and chase themselves."
2020-21 State Gymnastics Meet
At Jamestown High School
1. Dickinson 148.5; 2. Valley City 145.75; 3. Jamestown 144.40; 4. Bismarck Legacy 144.017; 5. Grand Forks 134.783; 6. Bismarck Century 131.583; 7. Mandan 128.283; 8. Wahpeton/Breckenridge 125.783.
1. Dickinson 37.517; 2. Valley City 36.733; 3. Jamestown 36.517; 4. Legacy 35.783; 5. Grand Forks 34.767; 6. Century 33.983; 7. Mandan 34.2; 8. Wahpeton/Breckenridge 34.133.
1. Dickinson 37.083; 2. Valley City 35.633; T2. Jamestown 35.633; 4. Legacy 35.417; 5. Grand Forks 32.917; 6. Century 33.35; 7. Mandan 31.567; 8. Wahpeton/Breckenridge 29.683.
1. Dickinson 38.017; 2. Valley City 37.717; 3. Legacy 37.467; 4. Jamestown 37.25; 5. Grand Forks 35.967; 6. Century 33.867; 7. Mandan 33.417; 8. Wahpeton/Breckenridge 32.517.
1. Dickinson 35.883; 2. Valley City 35.667; 3. Legacy 35.35; 4. Jamestown 35.0; ; 5. Grand Forks 31.133; 6. Century 30.383; 7. Mandan 29.1; 8. Wahpeton/Breckenridge 29.45.