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Gymnastics: Warriors' Etterman in hunt for medals

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Brainerd Dispatch
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Beth Etterman can become the first Brainerd Warrior to stand on the podium at a Class 2A state meet in three years.

Etterman hopes to put an exclamation point on her only year in high school gymnastics (she was a club gymnast until this, her senior season) this weekend. She went undefeated in Central Lakes Conference dual meets in all-around competition. She then captured the Section 8-2A all-around title, along with section vault and floor exercise titles.

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To earn a spot on the podium, a gymnast must finish in the top six in one of the four disciplines (vault, floor exercise, uneven bars, balance beam). The top six receive medals. Based on Etterman’s season, she’s capable of bringing home a few medals.

Her best opportunity to medal appears to be on vault, an event in which she scored a school-record 9.925, beating the previous mark of 9.9 set by Warriors 1991 state champion Julie Beasley.

Etterman throws a Yurchenko layout, one of the most difficult vault moves.

“She’s definitely in the hunt there,” Warriors coach Dave Maras said. “A couple girls in the state are throwing layouts. It’s simply a matter of her hitting.

“She’s competed against a couple of them that will be there. She’s within half/tenths of a point. It all depends on the four judges. A lot depends on what they see. She definitely has a top-caliber vault.”

Etterman’s sister, Katy, was Brainerd’s last podium occupant. In 2011, Katy finished third on bars and fifth in the all-around to reach the podium. In addition, she finished seventh on floor and 11th on vault in her only season of varsity gymnastics (she also was a club gymnast until her senior year).

Floor exercise is another of Beth’s strengths with a season high of 9.65.

“The thing that’s going to be the difference in the state meet is the little things,” Maras said. “An extra step here or there, every one of those is a half-tenth to a full-tenth of a point (deduction).

“If she puts her landing down, she’s got the difficulty.s It’s a matter of having a clean routine. Where she stacks up I couldn’t even begin to guess, but she’s up there with some of the top routines.”

Etterman also set a school record with a 38.425 all-around total.

“She’s definitely in the hunt for a medal,” Maras said. “I can see her easily being in the top five.

“She’s got all the stuff. She’s had a good week of practice, she’s looked good in everything she does. She’s been in big competitions before. She’s a gamer. She likes to compete and we’ll see where that puts us.”

Senior Mikayla Cerney and freshman Millie Klefsaas will accompany Etterman to the state meet.

Cerney scored a fourth-place 9.275 on floor at the section meet to return to state after a two-year absence. Her season high was a 9.55.

“Mikayla’s much stronger,” Maras said. “Her tumbling is much better, her leaps are much better. She’s a much better floor worker than she was a couple years ago. She’s added a new skill on her front pass. That could be huge.

“There’s nothing to lose (at state). You throw caution to the wind.”

Klefsaas qualified for her first state trip with a fourth-place 9.4 section vault. Her season high is 9.45.

“Her tuck tsuk is as good as you’re going to see anywhere,” Maras said. “She’s got the height, the distance, it’s one powerful vault.”

LeBlanc 1A contender

Little Falls senior Rachelle LeBlanc has won three straight Section 8-1A all-around championships, including this year’s title with a score of 38.025, and appears to be in contention for the state title.

She also won section titles on beam and floor, was runner-up on bars and tied for fourth on floor.

Last year, LeBlanc finished third at state in all-around (37.4250), third on beam (9.5500), fourth on floor (9.5000), ninth on bars (9.2125) and 20th on vault (9.1625).

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.

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Mike Bialka
(218) 855-5861
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