Hillerud earns Athlete of the Year, Jays perform their best

The 2023 State Gymnastics Meet is being held at Jamestown High School this weekend.

jhs gymnastics state hillerud bars 022523.jpg
Jamestown Senior Emma Hillerud competes on the bars routine Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at the North Dakota Gymnastics State Championship at Jerry Meyer Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN — Emma Hillerud had one goal on Saturday.

"Emma said her only goal today was to get a nine on bars," Jamestown High School head gymnastics coach Bre Carlson said.

Hillerud wound up receiving a score of 9.067 on bars which thereby made earning the 2023 Senior Athlete of the Year award just the icing on the cake.

Hillerud was the third Blue Jay to earn the Senior Athlete of the Year honor in three years. She was also the third consecutive Blue Jay to earn the West Region Senior Athlete of the Year.

"I think it was really well deserved," Carlson said. "She's a really great kid — not just as a gymnast but as a person helping her teammates and people out in the community. We are going to miss her."


Hillerud was one of 12 Blue Jay gymnasts competing on the final day of the 2023 State Gymnastics Meet on Saturday. The senior placed in the top-15 in three of the four events and wound up placing eighth in the all-around competition with a score of 36.233

"I had a good meet," Hillerud said. "My floor didn't go as I wanted it to but I definitely had the best bars day I've ever had. I put in a bail and a giant bail so that got the difficulty of my routine up a lot. It made my start value a ten but I took out my full on my dismount because I can't land it so that was a good move I guess."

"Everybody did so well," she said. "Julia (Skari) got second so I am so proud of her for that and Allysah (Larson) and Blair (Arbuckle) had great floor routines. It was a good day."

Skari scored the highest vault of her career on Saturday, The sophomore catapulted her way to a score of 9.633 to finish second. Her 9.367 on uneven bars placed her fourth overall. She was the Blue Jays' top finisher in the all-around with a score of 36.683.

Arbuckle placed 11th on bars with a score of 8.900. Arbuckle tied three other gymnasts for the 10th-place spot on floor netting a score of 9.450.

Larson placed 15th on floor and 14th beam with scores of 9.300 and 8.733.

"It went really well," Carlson said of the meet. "Surprisingly floor was our weak event today I think they were just exhausted from giving 130% yesterday. If it would have been team day today we would have gotten second but that's just how it goes."

jhs gymnastics state larson floor 022523.jpg
Jamestown's Allysah Larson races across the carpet during her floor routine Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at the North Dakota Gymnastics State Championship at Jerry Meyer Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Hillerud, Larson, Arbuckle and Skari were the four Blue Jays competing in the all-around competition but the Jays had eight other gymnasts competing in the event finals on Saturday


Youngsters Sutton Van Gilder, Lucy Falk, Jozie Davis, Jasmine Houmann, Aubrey Krapp and McKenna Pettys also made a splash, all scoring at least an 8.000 in their respective events. Carlson said while the Jays will miss their seniors — Hillerud, Arbuckle and Sydney Fisher — she is looking forward to the coming years with the Blue Jay gymnastics program.

"Our seniors are such top-scorers for us so it's' going to be hard to fill their shoes but I am excited for next year," Carlson said. "I think our younger ones, now with the experience with this season know what they need to do for next year. I think they will be doing some big things next year."

Valley City's Olson wins State All-Around title

Valley City senior Karina Olson has been doing big things for the Valley City gymnastics club for a long time, but on Saturday, she did something no other Hi-Liner gymnast had done in recent history.

"In the back of my mind I've always wanted to win the all-around title," Olson said. "Last year, I won floor and that was my first state title ever and this year it just flipped. It was like, this is my last chance, I am going to do it this year. It was my goal for this year and it worked out pretty well."

Olson won the 2023 State All-Around title with a massive score of 38.017. According to the records kept by the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) no other gymnast from Valley City has won an all-around title post-1969.

"Considering it was my senior year I just really came in wanting to have fun, go out with a bang and not stress over stuff because when I stress about things I just always fall," Olson said. "Honestly, I was super iffy throughout the whole meet. I really didn't know until they announced it at the very end of the meet. I had some ups and downs today but it turned out pretty good."

Olson is the first non-Dickinson athlete to claim the all-around title since 2018 when Bismarck High's Julia Red Wing repeated as the all-around champ. Olson's first-ever state title came at the 2022 State Meet, where she picked up first-place honors for her floor routine but this year. In addition to the all-around title, Olson placed second on bars, second on floor, sixth on vault and first on balance beam.

"Usually beam is not my best event, I mean floor is usually my go-to but you know what, I won floor last year so I had to let someone else win it this year," Olson said with a laugh.


No one can argue Olson didn't earn all five of her state-placer plaques.

"Usually in the summer I spent four to four and a half hours in the gym Monday through Friday and then during the school year it was about three to three and a half hours Monday through Thursday and then we have our meets on Friday," Olson said. "It was a lot of time but it paid off."

jhs gymnastics state arbuckle floor 022523.jpg
With Coach Bre Carlson looking on, Jamestown's Blair Arbuckle does a mid-air flip while performing her floor routine Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, at the North Dakota Gymnastics State Championship at Jerry Meyer Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

2023 State Gymnastics Individual Championships

At Jamestown High School

Top-10 placers / Blue Jay results

Vault: 1. Elizabeth Karsky, DHS, 9.650; 2. Julia Skari, JHS, 9.633; 3. Reygan Strommen, DHS, 9.417; 4. Jenna Jackson, BC, 9.367; 4. Haley Conklin, MIN, 9.367; 6. Karina Olson, VC, 9.317; 7. Keira Davis, MIN, 9.283; 8. Brooke Dolyniuk, DHS, 9.283; 9. Hailee Hanson, BW, 9.183; 10. Teah Shulte, BC, 9.167; 10. Rachel Dunlop, BC, 9.167; 16. Hillerud 9.117; 17. Arbuckle 9.083; 19. Sutton Van Gilder 9.067; 25. Larson 8.933; 29. Jozie Davis 8.900; 33. Jasmine Houmann 8.850; 34. Sydney Fisher 8.817.

Bars: 1. Aspen Rodarmel, DHS, 9.700; 2. Karina Olson, VC, 9.567; 3. Brooklyn Wariner, DHS, 9.433; 4. Skari 9.367; 5. Rylee Olson, DHS, 9.300; 6. Rachel Crouse, BC, 9.250; 7. Elizabeth Karsky, DHS, 9.100; 7. Haley Conklin, MIN, 7; 9. Hillerud 9.067; 10. Corrina Ugland, BC, 8.933; 11. Arbuckle 8.900; 19. Aubrey Krapp 8.667; 23. Van Gilder 8.600; 30. Lydia Stoterau 8.350; 35. Larson 8.200.

Beam: 1. Karina Olson, VC, 9.450; 2. Irelyn Ell, LEG, 9.400l; 2. Brooklyn Wariner, DHS, 9.400; 4. Taryn Swanson, GF, 9.350; 5. Elizabeth Karsky, DHS, 9.283; 6. Teah Shulte, BC, 9.233; 7. Alyson Krug, BHS, 9.150; 8. Hillerud 9.100; 9. Jenna Jackson, BC, 9.083; 10. Alexa Evanger, LEG, 9.017; 14. Larson 8.733; 17. Skari 8.667; 20. Lucy Falk 8.633; 30. Houmann 8.267; 39. Van Gilder 7.633; 42. Arbuckle 6.617.


Floor: 1. Reygan Strommen, DHS, 9.700; 2. Karina Olson, VC, 9.683; 3. Rylee Olson 9.650; 4. Taryn Swanson, GF, 9.617; 5. Aspen Rodarmel, DHS, 9.567; 6. Anna Heil, LEG, 9.517; 7. Alyson Krug, BHS, 9.500; 8. Abbie Skovholt, BW, 9.467; 8. Keira Davis, MIN, 9.467; 10. Arbuckle 9.450; 10. Brooklyn Wariner, DHS, 9.450; 10. Brooke Dolyniuk, DHS, 9.450; 10. Haley Conklin, MIN, 9.450; 15. Larson 9.300; 23. Skari 9.017; 27. Hillerud 8.950; 31. Fisher 8.833; 32. McKenna Pettys 8.800; 38. Davis 8.517; 40. Houmann 8.433.

All-Around: 1. Karina Olson, VC, 38.017; 2. Brooklyn Wariner, DHS, 37.433; 3. Rylee Olson, DHS, 37.083; 4. Elizabeth Karsky, DHS, 36.933; 5. Skari 36.683; 6. Haley Conklin, MIN, 36.550; 7. Taryn Swanson, GF, 36.333; 8. Hillerud 36.233; 9. Reygan Strommen, DHS, 36.216; 10. Teah Shulte, BC, 36.167; 21. Larson 35.167; 26. Arbuckle 34.050.

Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 701-952-8460.
What To Read Next
Get Local