Gymnastics: Warriors place 7th in Dave Maras Holiday Invite

The 2022 Dave Maras Holiday Gymnastics Invite Saturday, Dec. 17

Gymnast competes in floor
Brainerd's Lauren Castle competes in floor Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, during the Dave Maras Holiday Invite at Brainerd High School.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — A not quite at full strength Brainerd Warriors squad saw their first taste of competition at the Dave Maras Holiday Invitational Saturday, Dec. 17, at Brainerd High School.

The Warriors finished seventh out of eight teams, with the Lakeville South Cougars being crowned team champions with 142.55 points.

“I think they handled it really well,” Warriors head coach Jessica Larson said. “We have some kids out sick. Some injuries. And it’s our first meet of the season and we are really running off one-and-a-half practices for the week with all the cancellations during the week. We had kids unexpectedly come into spots and they handled it really well.”

Brenna Deason highlighted the Warriors on the podium with a third-place finish on the vault with a score of 9.5.

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The vault was the only event Deason, who normally competes in the all-around, would participate in Saturday.


“Her vaults are beautiful right off the bat,” Larson said. “Her vaults look amazing. She’s been working on her beam routine and at some point we will get her back on the beam and see how it goes.”

On the floor, sophomore Lauren Castle turned in a 9.05 performance which was good enough with ninth place.

“I think the energy we brought after a rough beam rotation was key,” Castle said. “We ended well.”

Big Lakes’ Britney Krumrei and Detroit Lakes’ Jerzie Horner each tied for the all-around title with 36.650 scores.

DL’s Gabby Whitworth won the title on the uneven bars with a score of 9.55, which narrowly beat out Horner’s 9.5.

Whitworth also captured first on the floor with a 9.45 score.

Courtney Althaus won the balance beam competition with a 9.25, while Lakeville South’s Alexa Drew won on the vault with a 9.65.

For the Warriors, eighth grader Sophia White was slated to participate in the all-around. She scored an 8.5 on the vault, a 7.55 on the bars and a 7.65 on the beam before an injury kept her out of the floor.


“She threw in some upgrades today and landed her first suk which was really exciting,” Larson said. “We had a lot of kids stepping into varsity for the first time. We did pull her on floor because she bruised her heel on her beam dismount, so we played it safe with two more meets coming up next week. Same with the vault, we had her throw one vault because I didn’t want her to risk injury. The goal was to get through the day on our feet and injury free.”

Castle coupled her top 10 on the floor with a 7.6 score on the beam and a 8.15 on the vault.

“We started out strong in some events then others, but I think we are feeling pretty good,” Castle said.

Anaka Schroeder led the Warriors on the bars with an 8.05 score.

Senior Ella Dircks competed in three events and scored an 8.5 on the vault, an 8.6 on the floor and a 7.6 on the beam.

Overall, Larson was pleased with how the first meet went.

“It went really, really well considering the circumstances we were under,” she said. “First meet I never expect us to be 100% anyways. Honestly it was fun to bring in other kids and have them do routines too.”

The Warriors are back in action Tuesday, Dec. 20, when they host Willmar. It’s the first of two Central Lakes Conference duals in the week.


“Practice Monday will be focused on doing the little things we can do to improve our routines,” Larson said.

Team Scores: 1-Lakeville South 142.55, 2-Big Lake 141.30, 3-Detroit Lakes 139.55, 4-Owatonna 139.65, 5-Melrose 136.35, 6-Lakeville North 134.50, 7-Brainerd 130.55, 8-Moorhead 116.80

Vault: 1-Alexa Drew (Lakeville South) 9.65, 3-Brenna Deason (Brd) 9.5, 14-Sophia White (Brd) 8.5, 14-Ella Dircks (Brd) 8.5, 16-Sydney Jones (Brd) 8.4, 18-Lauren Castle (Brd) 8.15

Uneven parallel bars: 1-Gabby Whitworth (DL), 21-Anaka Schroeder (Brd) 8.05, 26-Ava Antonsen (Brd) 7.75, 27-Jones 7.65, 28-Brooke Hennies 7.6, 29-White 7.55

Balance beam: 1-Courtney Althaus (M) 9.25, 16-White 7.65, 17-Castle 7.6, 17-Dircks 7.6, 18-Marin Ellingson (Brd) 7.05, 28-Tatum Christophersen (Brd) 5.05

Floor exercise: 1-Whitworth 9.45, 9-Castle 9.05, 15-Tia Bruggeman (Brd) 8.65, 16-Dircks 8.6, 19-Ellingson 8.4, 20-Megan Wirtz (Brd) 8.35

All-around: 1-Britney Krumrei (Big Lake), Jerzie Horner (DL) 36.650

Next: Brainerd hosts Willmar 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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