Shelby Paavola changed from a half to a full and it made all the difference.
The only change in the junior's vault routine from last year helped the Wadena-Deer Creek gymnast place her name in W-DC's all-time top 10 list.
Paavola scored an 8.7 on her first vault attempt against Prairie Centre Dec. 15 to accomplish the feat.
"I wasn't expecting to get it all," said Paavola. "Last year vault wasn't my strongest point. I started doing the full twist and that's been the difference. I wasn't aware I was above an 8."
At the Morris Invitational Dec. 10, Paavola scored an 8.3 on vault. She said she didn't know where the three-tenths of a point came from.
"My coaches were crying," said Paavola. "I didn't know right away that I broke the top 10. My coach, Terry Olson, told me afterward that he thought I made it. We haven't had anyone break into the top 10 in the past three years so it's pretty cool."
Paavola's vault is a handspring on, then a full twist off. Olson said it is a 9.4 vault and she did it well to make the list. He was surprised she cracked the top 10 so soon.
School: Wadena-Deer Creek
Key stat: Scored an 8.7 on vault to crack W-DC's all-time top 10 list
"In the past she's had trouble twisting too early and if you twist too early you don't get enough block to look really nice," said Olson. "She hit it on her first vault.
"She started working on it last year. Because she twisted earlier we were trying to find out if she could do a full. She said she could and she was right."
Paavola said she couldn't do a half twist now if she tried. The full twist has just come naturally to her. While the top 10 on vault wasn't really a goal for Paavola, she's happy with the accomplishment. Now she can concentrate on her other priorities, like nailing her floor routine and improving her bars.
The third-year varsity member is an all-arounder, but vault is her best exercise.
"She has a lot of power," said Olson. "She doesn't have the fastest run, but her board work is really good. That translates into great block off the horse."
Paavola also plays tennis, sings in the choir and is involved in many other actives. She said the secret to her recent success was simply listening to her coaches.
"You need to know the techniques," she said. "On vault you have to have a steady run. You can't jog down there. You have to keep practicing and you just have to do it."
Other notable performances:
Basketball - Emily Mehr, Aitkin, scored 21 points against Hinckley-Finlayson.
Carissa Johnson, Pequot Lakes, scored 23 points against Wadena-Deer Creek.
Kasey Theisen, W-DC, had 19 points against Pequot Lakes.
Taylor Sheley, Pine River-Backus, scored 24 points against Northland Remer and 20 against W-DC.
Hillary Kern, Verndale, had 15 points and nine rebounds against Sebeka.
Kendell Spar, Staples-Motley, scored 22 points against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Brittany Ohrmundt, W-DC, scored 25 points against PR-B.
Megan Meyer, Little Falls, had 21 points and 19 rebounds against Brainerd.
Gymnastics - Brianna Sanoski, Little Falls, won the all-around, vault and floor against St. Cloud Apollo.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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