Her smile was as big as her score Tuesday night at Brainerd High School.
Senior co-captain Mikayla Cerney walked off the floor exercise routine platform smiling from ear to ear. And that was before her second-place 9.175 was displayed.
That score led her to a second-place all-around score of 34.575 and helped the Brainerd Warriors to a 140.250-124.250 Central Lakes Conference win over Fergus Falls.
“That was the best floor routine I’ve done this year for sure,” said Cerney. “Everything was clean. Everything was good. The cheering helped.
“I’ve been doing this routine since I was in seventh grade. I was supposed to have a new routine, but this one is just so cleaned up. I’m so used to it that it’s easy to just go with the flow and just make it cleaner instead of worrying what I have to do because it’s stuck in my head now.”
Cerney grabbed a second-place 8.6 on vault. Fellow senior and varsity newcomer Beth Etterman won the exercise with a flipping, flying 9.7. Jaelyn King was fourth with an 8.5.
“Vault could be, by the end of the year, one of our better events,” said Warrior head coach Dave Maras. “We were short on four or five vaults tonight. When you do that you’re not going to score very well, but we know what it is and we can fix it. We have a great vault lineup, we just didn’t hit them all tonight. But we will.”
Brainerd secured the top three spots on bars, which has been an Achilles heel for the Warriors in past years. Cerney finished third with an 8.4. Senior captain Lonie Anderson glided through her routine for an 8.624 and Etterman pounded out a first-place 9.475.
“Last year, we didn’t have any pep talks before so this year we’re really bringing back the pep talks, the cheering and helping each other get through it,” said Cerney. “We’ve learned from our mistakes from last year and we’ve had a way better season so far this year. We’re more productive. It really shows in our bar routines. They are so much better.”
Millie Klefsaas wowed the crowd with her balancing act on the beam. She scored a first-place 9.15, and Brainerd nailed down the top five spots. Etterman was second, followed by Cerney, senior captain Jenny Muesing and King.
“Our beam is really pretty good,” said Maras. “Our routines are pretty solid and that shows in the scores. Our bars were really good for this time of year. We put a couple of new kids in early and they did a marvelous job. Alexis (Cheeks) and Kianna (Christensen) did very well and then of course the last three girls hit. When you do that, it’s kind of fun and for this early in the year, it’s kind of impressive.”
Etterman won the floor with a 9.4 on her way to winning the all-around with a 37.375. Hannah Dahlberg placed third and King fourth.
Cerney, who advanced to state as a sophomore, missed advancing last year. While she’s trying not to think about the past, it is pushing her to improve.
“Last year was a big disappointment for me, but I don’t want to think about it because this is a new year,” she said. “It’s a new year and I can start over. I can start fresh.
“I’ve been working so much harder. I came into the season much stronger than last year. I hope to continue with that and make it back to state.”
Brainerd 140.250, Fergus Falls 124.25
Vault: 1-Beth Etterman (Brd) 9.7, 2-Mikayla Cerney (Brd) 8.6, 4-Jaelyn King (Brd) 8.5, 6t-Millie Klefsaas (Brd) 8.5, 6t-Abbey Selisker (Brd) 8.5
Uneven parallel bars: 1-Etterman 9.475, 2-Lonie Anderson (Brd) 8.625, 3-Cerney 8.4, 5-Alexis Cheek 7.625, 7-Kianna Christensen (Brd) 7.25
Balance beam: 1-Klefsaas 9.15, 2-Etterman 8.8, 3-Cerney 8.4, 4-Jenny Muesing (Brd) 8.3, 5-King 8.2
Floor exercise: 1-Etterman 9.4, 2-Cerney 9.175, 3-Hannah Dahlberg (Brd) 8.85, 4-King 8.75, 8-Klefsaas 7.95
All-around: 1-Etterman 37.375, 2-Cerney 34.575