It was a giant night for the Brainerd Warriors.
Lonie Anderson set the tone by executing two giants on her bar routine for the first time in her varsity career during Friday’s Section 8-2A meet at Brainerd High School.
That propelled Mikayla Cerney, who followed Anderson, to match the two giants and land a spot in the state tournament.
Not to be outdone, senior Katy Etterman won the bars and finished second in the all-around to also advance to the state meet.
The Warriors’ 35.125 bar score was the highest on that apparatus and catapulted them into third place for the tournament. St. Cloud Tech defended their title with a team score of 142.8. Sauk Rapids finished second at 140.775 and Brainerd tallied 139.5.
“Bars was just awesome,” said Etterman. “This whole season I don’t think we’ve had all five hit their routines like that. It was just so awesome. Just seeing Lonie and Mikayla go out and make those (giants) pumped up my Adrenaline so much. The team was jumping up and down and it was just an awesome experience.”
Anderson’s giants helped her to a seventh-place 8.525.
“They were just exhilarating,” Anderson said about her giants. “I made the giants and I just wanted to stop in the middle of my routine and end it there and just scream my heart out. They were so exciting.”
Cerney scored an 8.8 to tie for fourth with Monticello’s Alyssa Ciattie. The top four individuals advance to state and Cerney beat out Ciattie on the third tie-breaker.
Etterman scored a 9.625 for her bars victory. She finished second on beam with a 9.275, floor with a 9.25 and the vault with a 9.6.
“I’m pretty satisfied with how everything went,” she said. “For my second vault we were actually going to do a lay up, which I’ve been training this past week on. It’s been a really difficult vault for me to get. If my first one went well we were going to do the lay up and my first went as planned. I was going to throw, but I just couldn’t do it. I’m a little disappointed, but I’ll do it at state.”
Sauk Rapids’ Chole Timm won the three other events and captured the all-around title with a 38.125. Etterman was second again with a 37.75.
The highlight of the night came from senior Olivia Elsenpeter, who battled through a back injury all season, but scored a seventh-place 8.775 on beam. At the conclusion of her routine she was mauled by her teammates. Etterman said she was almost in tears after watching her teammate.
“I wish they would have given her a 10 because she deserved all of it,” Etterman added.
Elsenpeter had a stress fracture in her back which kept the former state beamer from building on her past progress.
“To me it was just a monumental meet to go out there and do some of the old things I used to be doing and not be held back,” said Elsenpeter. “It was really emotional for me and I was just really glad I did it.
“It’s bittersweet. I didn’t want it to end and now I want to keep going after today, but it was a lot of fun.”
Brainerd’s Jeff Nelson was voted the Section 8-2A assistant coach of the year.
Team scores: 1-St. Cloud Tech 142.8, 2-Sauk Rapids 140.775, 3-Brainerd 139.5, 4-Monticello 133.85, 5-Alexandria 132.675, 6-St. Cloud Apollo 130.825, 7-St. Michael-Albertville 129.7, 8-Moorhead 129.425, 9-Bemidji 124.85
Vault: 1-Chole Timm (SR) 9.8, 2-Katy Etterman (Brd) 9.6, 7-Madison Grausam (Brd) 9.04, 17-Mikayla Cerney (Brd) 8.7, 22-Jenny Muesing (Brd) 8.5, 24t-Jackie Caughey (Brd), 8.475
Uneven parallel bars: 1-Etterman 9.625, 4-Cerney 8.8, 9-Lonie Anderson 8.525, 17-Grausam 8.175, 36-Caughey 7.2
Balance beam: 1-Timm 9.325, 2-Etterman 9.275, 7-Olivia Elsenpeter (Brd) 8.775, 12-Cerney 8.55, 30-Claire Campbell (Brd) 7.975, 33-Grausam 7.85
Floor exercise: 1-Timm 9.475, 2-Etterman, 22-Cerney 8.35, 24-Grausam 8.225, 26-Caughey 8.125, 33-Anderson 8.00
All-around: 1-Timm 38.125, 2-Etterman 37.75, 8-Cerney 34.4, 16-Grausam 33.3
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.