Haley Nelson tried to trap Dave Tews into giving her a hug Saturday following the 2020-21 State Gymnastics Meet.

"Oh no," the longtime Jamestown High School gymnastics coach said as the junior encircled his waist. "You'll graduate without a hug -- just ask Courtney (Mack)."

Mack, a 2020 Jamestown High School graduate, shook her head protesting that Tews had in fact hugged her prior to graduation. Mack's protests were followed by a laugh and Tews' emphatic statement that he would deny any and all hugs he had supposedly given out in the last 43 years.

While Tews might deny the fact he's hugged his athletes, there is no denying his official retirement will bring a certain era of Blue Jay gymnastics to an end.

"I am done, this is it," Tews said in an interview following the 2020-21 state gymnastics meet. "Forty-three years (later) my retirement is in. It's time for somebody else. We've got a great group of coaches to continue on."

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Tews' 43-year coaching career came to a close Saturday after the Blue Jays had wrapped up their season with a third-place team finish and a handful of podium-making individual scores at state. Tews attributed much of the Blue Jays' success to the assistant coaches and the coaching done at the younger levels of gymnastics.

Tews said he has full confidence that his group of assistant coaches can keep the Blue Jays on track to make a run at many more state tourneys.

"A lot of kids made the podium today and that's good," Tews said in an interview Saturday. "I remember those years where we were excited if we had one place in the top-15 in two events. It's nice to have those days behind us forever I hope and I think it will be, we've got a good group of gymnasts."

Long-time Jamestown High School gymnastics coach Dave Tews is retiring after more than 40 years at the position. Tews stands by at the vault during a routine at the state championships Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Long-time Jamestown High School gymnastics coach Dave Tews is retiring after more than 40 years at the position. Tews stands by at the vault during a routine at the state championships Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

One of those gymnasts also said good-bye to the Jamestown High School gymnastics team Saturday.

Rachel Schiele, the team's lone senior, went out on a high note earning the 2021 NDHSCA Gymnastics Senior Athlete of the Year title. Schiele was unable to compete in her final state meet due to an ACL injury she suffered while practicing her uneven bars routine last month.

"I was a little surprised because Jocey (Kriewald) is a great gymnast and I knew I was going up against her and she deserved it too," Schiele said.

Kriewald, a senior for the Valley City gymnastics team, helped lead the Hi-Liners to a state runner-up title in the team competition. The second-place performance was the Hi-Liners' highest team finish at the state meet since 1982.

Schiele was also named the WDA Senior Athlete of the Year. Tews was right alongside Schiele, racking up WDA Coach of the Year and NDHSCA Coach of the Year awards. Tews expressed well wishes to the senior saying the entire Blue Jay team is proud of what the three-time state champ has done in her 15 years at the Jamestown Gymnastics Club.

"I just feel honored that all the coaches think that about me," Schiele said. "I think that is awesome."

Jamestown's Rachel Schiele smiles a little after having a good routine on the balance beam. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Jamestown's Rachel Schiele smiles a little after having a good routine on the balance beam. John M. Steiner / The Sun

The ACL injury has ended Schiele's Blue Jay career but she is looking ahead to the journey awaiting her at the University of Jamestown. Schiele's older sister, Hannah, is a junior defensive specialist for UJ women's volleyball.

"I will be doing all of my PT (physical therapy) and I will be recovering so I can get ready for next August for volleyball at UJ," Schiele said. "I am beyond excited to play with my sister again."