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Gymnastics: 4th-ranked Willmar tops Warriors

Brainerd's Ellie Selisker performs her vault Thursday, Jan. 10, against Willmar at Brainerd High School. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video

Even without her state vault, Eli Selisker has soared above the competition.

The Brainerd Warriors junior continues to be one the Central Lakes Conference's best vaulters and proved it Thursday, Jan. 11, as she finished third in a 143.9-138.75 loss to Class 1A's fourth-ranked Willmar Cardinals at Brainerd High School.

The battle of ranked conference opponents started off in the Warriors' favor, but that should be no surprise as Brainerd's vault lineup usually catapults them into a good start.

"Vault actually as a whole has been one of our top events and, especially at a home event, starting off with vault has been great," Warrior head coach Tessa Poorker said. "We hit over a 36 almost a 37 every meet so it's nice to have that motivation going into the next event. We have a great vault lineup. We do have a lot of tsuks and a lot of twisting vaults that can score about the same as our tsuks. We have some great depth so if someone does have to come out of the lineup we have someone who can pop right in."

Thursday, the Warriors posted a 36.0 on vault led by Selisker's 9.2.

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Willmar 143.90, Warriors 138.750

  • Key: Willmar won every event except beam to score a five-point win
  • Conf: Brd 3-1, Will 4-0
  • Overall: Brd 3-2, Will 6-0
  • Next: Brainerd at Buffalo Invitational Noon, Saturday, Jan. 19

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"My vault went OK," Selisker said. "I got a 9.4 at our last meet so a 9.2 is still pretty good for the difficulty I do, because it's only out of a 9.6. I was still proud of myself for getting into the 9s range, but I wasn't as happy as I wanted to be."

Last year's state meet participant has been doing a tuck tsuk instead of the pike tsuk she performed at state. Poorker said it was to keep Selisker healthy, but the pike may not come back. Selisker believes easier and clean is better than difficult and messy.

"Right now I've gotten pretty high scores on the vault I'm doing now so I don't know if I'm going to go to the pike tsuk or not. Last year at sections, I got a 9.3 with my pike tsuk and I've gotten a 9.4 with my tuck tsuk so I might just try to keep it nice and simple and clean. Judges like when it's nice and simple."

While Willmar opened with 35.05 on bars, it didn't take the Cardinals long to build a lead as they scored a 37 on vault. Brainerd threw up a 31.850 on bars.

"We've always been a fan of Willmar," Poorker said. "Anytime they come to our gym it's always a competition of who is going to be louder. Usually they end up being louder. Their coach Nick (Clasemann) always ends up being the loudest, but it's just really fun to have that energy in the gym.

"We didn't have a full, healthy lineup tonight so maybe we did feel a little defeated, but I thought we did just as good."

The Warriors did post a 34.55 on beam compared to Willmar's 34.5. Kenna Smith posted a third-place 9.05 on beam followed by Maddy Sedlachek's fourth-place 8.6. Selisker was fifth and Brenna Deason was sixth.

Eighth-grader Josie Harguth made her varsity debut and scored an eighth-place 8.1.

"She had a fall, but we expect some jitters for her first time doing a varsity event," Poorker said. "She finished her routine really strong and we're proud of her, and we'll just work through the struggles being nervous. It's a common thing, eighth through 12th grade on the balance beam.

"We changed Kenna's beam routine and you can see more confidence in each skill that she does. She deserved to prove to herself that she's a good beamer like she has been. She's just been struggling on a few skills so we switched some things around and it's a lot better for her."

Deason owned Brainerd's top floor score with a third-place 9.35 followed by Smith's fifth-place 9.2.

"Floor was good, but there were just some funky little falls and extra steps and things like that. Our 9s weren't all there, but we know that they will be moving forward. Our presentation was great."

Deason's 34.650 all-around score landed her in fourth.

Brainerd's all-arounder Izzy Olson did not compete because of an injury. Poorker said it wasn't serious, but the team was practicing an injury protocol to make sure she is healthy for later in the season.

Willmar 143.9, Brainerd 138.75

Vault: 1-Kirah Kessler-Gross (W) 9.45, 3-Eli Selisker 9.2, 6-Brenna Deason 9.1, 7-Abby Doran 8.850, 8-Eden Worden 8.85, 10-Kenna Smith 8.45 Uneven parallel bars: 1-Erica Schramm (W) 9.2, 5-Maddy Sedlachek 8.250, 6-Elle Bruggeman 8.050, 7-Deason 7.8, 8-Haley Jones 7.750, 9-Brooklyn Jones 7.6 Balance beam: 1-Schramm 9.2, 3-Smith 9.05, 4-Sedlachek 8.6, 5-Selisker 8.5, 6-Deason 8.4, 8-Josie Harguth 8.1 Floor exercise: 1-Abby Coquyt (W) 9.55, 3-Deason 9.35, 5-Smith 9.2, 7-Worden 8.9, 7-Selisker 8.9, 9-H. Jones 8.2

All-around: 1-Schramm 37.150, 4-Deason 34.650

Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
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