The Brainerd Warriors gymnastics team put on their finest performance of the year Friday and in the process sent two members to the state tournament next weekend.
But despite a season-high score of 144.500, three higher than any other this year, the Warriors came up short to the St. Cloud Tech Tigers, ranked No. 2 in Class 2-A, who finished with a team score of 150.650.
Brainerd's Sam Smith and Kelsi Ring earned state tournament berths for their finishes.
Smith finished second in the balance beam with a score of 9.450, second in floor with 9.525 and third in the all-around with a 37.425 and a tie breaker score of 37.350.
Ring finished second in the vault with a 9.550 mark. The top four gymnasts in each event advanced to state.
Brainerd Warrior junior Sam Smith scored a 9.525 on the floor exercise en route to placing second Friday in the Section 8-2A gymnastics meet in Brainerd. Smith qualified for the state individual tournament Feb. 22-23 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
Head coach Dave Maras said both Smith and Ring put on great performances against a tough field that included two-time vault champion, St. Cloud Tech's Alise Post, who finished first in three events and the all-around.
"Sam had a great meet tonight. Anytime you post a score like she did in the all-around that's darn good gymnastics. She came through. It didn't surprise me," he said. "(Kelsi Ring) was hurting during last year's section meet. She's been working hard all year. Early in the year her vault was going great and then it kind of did a little rollercoaster and now she's back."
Brainerd's other top-ten finishers included: Smith (5th bars, 8th vault), Rebecca Westafer (7th bars), Jenny Klabo (9th bars), Becky Walker (6th beam, T-6th vault), Missy Brown (10th beam), Ring (10th floor) and Shana Lingwall (5th vault).
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The key: The Warriors had a state qualifier in three events
Next: State tournament, Feb. 22-23 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, RiverCentre, St. Paul
All of it added up to the Warriors' season-best mark.
Smith, who placed 24th in bar, 19th in beam and 24th in all-around in last year's state tournament, said she was disappointed with her vault, surprised by the beam and happy with the floor routine, while adding that overcoming Tech is a tough task.
"I was really hoping for a good vault finish but I didn't hit it. But now I'll get a second chance at state. Hopefully I'll hit it there even though I can't place," she said. "The beam was definitely unexpected so that was nice. And the floor is always fun.
"Tech is amazing. But we went into it trying to seriously compete with them and we did very well today. 144.5 is a great score."
Brainerd Warrior sophomore Kelsi Ring smiled after scoring a 9.550 on the vault en route to placing second Friday in the Section 8-2A gymnastics meet in Brainerd. Ring qualified for the state individual tournament Feb. 22-23 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
Maras said his team definitely matched his expectations Friday.
"No question about it, that's our highest score," he said. "I told them yesterday that all I want, all I expect is for them to do their best. The goal was to have a season-best score and it was tonight by three points."
Team results: 1-St. Cloud Tech 150.650, 2-Brainerd 144.500, 3-Moorhead 136.725, 4-Monticello 136.725, 5-St. Michael-Albertville 132.300, 6-Sauk Rapids-Rice 128.825, 7-Bemidji 128.075, 8-St. Cloud Apollo 128.050, 9-Alexandria 123.775
Uneven parallel bars: 1-Alise Post (SCT) 9.775, 5-Sam Smith (Brd) 9.325, 7-Rebecca Westafer (Brd) 8.800, 9-Jenny Klabo (Brd) 8.650, 11-Becky Walker (Brd) 8.475, 23-Kelsi Ring (Brd) 7.950
Balance beam: 1-Post (SCT) 9.600, 2-Smith (Brd) 9.450, 6-Walker (Brd) 9.000, 10-Missy Brown (Brd) 8.625, 8.700 (tie-breaker), 13-Shana Lingwall (Brd) 8.600, 8.700 (tb), 16-Ring (Brd) 8.450, 8.500 (tb)
Floor exercise: 1-Amber Christenson (SCT) 9.550, 2- Smith (Brd) 9.525, 10-Ring (Brd) 9.075, 12-Lingwall (Brd) 8.950, 9.000 (tb), 17-Walker (Brd), 20-Missy Brown (Brd) 8.550
Vault: 1-Post (SCT) 9.775, 2-Ring (Brd) 9.550, 5-Lingwall (Brd) 9.325, T-6 Walker (Brd) 9.250, 9.300 (tb), 8-Smith (Brd) 9.125, T-18-Allison Reuer (Brd) 8.650, 8.700 (tb)
All-around: 1-Post (SCT) 38.550, 3-Smith (Brd) 37.425, 37.350 (tb), 6-Walker (Brd) 35.500, 8-Ring (Brd) 35.025
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