Two of Minnesota’s top all-arounders, who happen to be two of the state’s best gymnasts in their respective classes, went toe to toe Tuesday night at Brainerd High School.
Brainerd’s Beth Etterman won the all-around duel against Rachelle LeBlanc of Little Falls, and the Warriors cruised to a 143.350-128.150 win over the Flyers as the two all-arounders put on a show.
Etterman started the meet with a rousing first-place 9.8 on vault, tying her season high. She and LeBlanc tied for first on the uneven bars with 9.15s. Etterman finished with an all-around total of 37.675 and placed second on beam and floor exercise.
“I wasn’t really thinking about (the individual duel) that much I guess,” Etterman said. “This is usually a fun meet so I was just out there having fun. She did really well, I did too and she congratulated me on my vault.
“My all-around tonight was up in my top scores, but my highest was the 38.425 (Jan. 23 against Sartell). We hadn’t practiced since the Sartell meet so it’s been like four days without doing any gymnastics.”
LeBlanc won the beam with a 9.5 and floor at 9.45. She and Brainerd’s Millie Klefsaas tied for second on vault with 9.15. Her runner-up all-around total was 37.25.
“She is such a talented gymnast and she’s beautiful with her lines and her vault was absolutely amazing,” LeBlanc said of Etterman. “It was just a pleasure to compete against her. I love having competition.
“I don’t have a very high-scoring vault so that was kind of anticipated. I’m still working on that. Floor went pretty well, beam went well, bars went pretty well, I was very blessed tonight and very happy.”
Warriors coach Dave Maras said the two all-arounders treated the full house to some quality gymnastics.
“Rachelle is an excellent all-arounder,” he said. “We’ve been watching her for years. She and Beth put on a pretty nice show for us.”
Depth aided the Warriors’ victory. In addition to Klefsaas’ runner-up vault, Warrior individuals finished at least 3-4-5 in each event.
“Kianna Christensen was the first kid up on vault and we said if she hits her first one we’re not going to let her do the second one,” Maras said, “but she hit it right on the button.
“Lonie Anderson had great bars, Mikayla Cerney had great bars. On floor, we had nice routines out of Jaelyn King and Hannah Dahlberg. She had her season high on floor tonight.
“Our beam was a little shaky tonight, but you know what? We’ve gone four days with no practice (due to school being closed by the cold.) Just to walk in cold and do it — doing it with practice is a tough order. Without any practice it’s a little tougher.”
Brainerd’s last meet of the season is scheduled Friday against St. Cloud Tech at St. Cloud Cathedral. Tech is ranked fifth in 2A and Brainerd eighth. One of the two is probably the eventual Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-2A champion.
“We’d like to invite the City of Brainerd because Tech’s going to bring their whole school on Friday night,” Maras said.
Brainerd 143.350, Little Falls 128.150
Vault: 1-Beth Etterman (B) 9.8, 2-(tie) Rachelle LeBlanc (LF) and Millie Klefsaas (B) 9.15, 4-Kianna Christensen (B) 9.0, 5-Jaelyn King (B) 8.9, 6-Mikayla Cerney (B) 8.8, 7-Hailey Claseman (LF) 8.55, 8-Stephanie Cluever (LF) 8.55, 9-Sarah Stout (LF) 8.450, 10-Suzy Smith (LF) 8.250
Uneven parallel bars: 1-(tie) Etterman and LeBlanc 9.15, 3-Lonie Anderson (B) 9.125, 4-Cerney 8.7, 5-Klefsaas 8.3, 6-Stout 7.1, 7-Cluever 6.750, 8-Avery Lillemoe (LF) 4.8, 9-Gabrielle Lyter (LF) 4.55
Balance beam: 1-LeBlanc 9.5, 2-Etterman 9.35, 3-Cerney 8.7, 4-Morgan Visser (B) 8.675, 5-Klefsaas 8.45, 6-King 8.25, 7-Stout 7.95, 8-Smith 7.85, 9-Claseman 7.05, 10-Lillemoe 6.3
Floor exercise: 1-LeBlanc 9.45, 2-Etterman 9.375, 3-Cerney 9.2, 4-King 8.8, 5-Hannah Dahlberg (B) 8.675, 6-Stout 8.35, 7-Klefsaas 8.15, 8-Cluever 8.05, 9-Smith 7.45, 10-Claseman 7.3
All-around: 1-Etterman 37.675, 2-LeBlanc 37.25, 3-Cerney 35.4, 4-Klefsaas 34.05, 5-Stout 31.85