State Gymnastics: Klefsaas beaming after state
MINNEAPOLIS--With a fourth-place finish on balance beam Saturday, Millie Klefsaas left a last mark on the record books of the Brainerd Warriors program.
MINNEAPOLIS-With a fourth-place finish on balance beam Saturday, Millie Klefsaas left a last mark on the record books of the Brainerd Warriors program.
The Staples-Motley senior, who competed for the Warriors, posted a 9.5 on beam during the Class 2A individual state tournament at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion. Megan Haug of Edina won the event with a 9.6125.
Klefsaas' goal was to finish on a podium and leave her mark. Both goals were accomplished.
"It means so much to me just because being there with (Brainerd coaches) Seth Helland and Tessa (Poorker) and some of my teammates and it being my final gymnastics meet ever," Klefsaas said. "That made it really, really great and it felt like a great way to end my whole career just because it's been my goal as a little eighth grader on the gymnastics team to make it on the podium at state. It was super awesome to fulfill a dream of mine."
Klefsaas was the first competitor on the beam. She was happy she stuck her routine, but looked at the score and figured it was just "pretty good."
"There are so many amazing gymnasts at state that you honestly never know where you're finishing at," said Klefsaas. "So it was super exciting to have my name not be called. Then they got to sixth place and my name still wasn't called and I knew then that I was getting fourth. It was just really fun to experience that."
Klefsaas scored a 9.3625 on vault. She finished 22nd on the bars with a 9.2 effort. She placed 30th on floors with an 8.9375 to secure 14th place in the all-around competition.
"It's not my best finish ever and I did end up falling on floor and that was a bummer, but the goal was to podium on something and beam has always been a big struggle for me," Klefsaas said. "It's just so hard to stay on and hard to have a good routine so it was just fun to hit a really difficult event.
"I would have liked to have hit my floor routine better because I have been hitting it so well all season. It's the first time I've falling on it, but it's alright."
Even Klefsaas' coaches couldn't believe that beam was the event she landed on the podium for.
At last year's state meet, for which Klefsaas was sick, she finished 27th on vault, 29th on the beam and 31st on the all-around. Her sophomore season saw Klefsaas place 32st on beam and 32nd in the all-around. She was 14th on vault as a freshmen.
Aside from Beth Etterman's state championship vault and fourth-place finishes on floor and the all-around in 2014, Klefsaas' fourth-place finish is Brainerd's best beam finish since Kathleen Lorenz placed sixth on beam with a then school record 9.7 in 2002. In 2000, Lorenz was third on beam.
"Floor and beam are probably my best events and they knew that was where I was going to have the best chance to get into the top six," Klefsaas said. "There is a lot of really great competition there and I hit my vault, which was probably one of the best vaults I've hit all season. It was really fun having Jaelyn Kappes there because it's just so hard to compete without your teammates there. It's just so fun to compete with them and having her there just made it easier for me. It made it feel more normal for her to be there. And I was really glad with how we both performed on vault."
Teammate Jaelyn Kappes finished 28th on vault with a 9.2875. Chaney Neau of Champlin Park won the vault with a 9.8125. Neau went on to win the all-around along with the floor state titles.
"It was a great day and Millie had a near perfect meet with only one mishap on her usual 9.5+ floor," Helland said. "She hit vault and bars and went into beam feeling great. She had the beam routine of a lifetime and after scoring a 9.525, all we could do was wait and hope to see if her lifelong dream of reaching the podium (top 6) would come true. She ending up tied for 3rd on beam for her score, officially finished 4th after the tie-breaker system kicked in. It was an amazing feeling. This was one of highest beam placings for Brainerd in school history.
Jaelyn Kappes hit both of her vaults and was in great spirits during the entire meet. It was so fun to get to see her experience the state meet for the first time as a senior. Her and Millie represented Brainerd extremely well and we couldn't be more proud of them as our senior captains."
Vault: 1-Chaney Neau (Champlin Park) 9.8125, 28-Jaelyn Kappes (Brainerd) 9.2875
Uneven parallel bars: 1-Olivia Rosenow (Roseville) 9.7625, 22-Millie Klefsaas (Brainerd) 9.2
Balance beam: 1-Megan Haug (Edina) 9.6125, 4-Klefsaas 9.5
Floor exercise: 1-Neau 9.725, 30-Klefsaas 8.9375
All-around: 1-Neau 38.5, 14-Klefsaas 37.050