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home : sports : sports August 18, 2017

3/2/2017 4:44:00 PM
Ertl finishes ninth in all-around, Olson and Fish gain valuable experience

The balance beam was the last event of the day at the individual state gymnastics meet on Saturday, February 25. The anticipation led to a highlight of the weekend for a few of the North Branch state meet competitors, but it also led to disappointment for another.

Junior Keeley Ertl had qualified for the state meet in the all-around, as well as two individual events, and after her first three events, she was in a great position.

Her day began with the floor exercise, and she executed well, earning ninth place overall in the event with a score of 9.525

Her second event of the day was the vault. She had tied for the Section 5A championship with three other girls, but she flew above and beyond them at state. She finished in seventh place overall, her highest of the day, on vault with a 9.525.

Her third event, the uneven bars, has been a struggle for her at times, but not on the biggest stage.

She nailed her routine, which had her coaches and teammates excited. When the score displays were turned around towards the North Branch contingent, a big smile came across everyone’s face. She scored a 9.2, which was tops among the all-around competitors who didn’t qualify for the event individually, and good enough for 13th place overall in the event.

“I don’t think Keeley has ever gotten a 9.2 on bars,” Head Coach Chris Johnson said excitedly after Ertl’s dismount. “That was a very nice bar routine.”

On the final event of the day for Ertl, she took to the balance beam. She hadn’t qualified as an individual for the event, but with a good score, she could potentially be in the top five all arounder’s in the state.

Her routine started off smooth, but on a double back hand spring, she lost a little balance in between the two moves and that threw her rhythm off. Johnson figured that’s what cost her the most in the eyes of the judges.

The routine earned Ertl an 8.825, which is a good score, but not enough to give her the last final boost she needed.

After all the scores were tallied, Ertl finished in ninth place in the all around competition with a 37.075. The top five was in her grasp heading into the beam, but she’ll have next year to perfect her routine. The other three events were a perfect exercise in what she had been working on all season, and those pieces looked great, according to Johnson.

All but two of the finishers in front of Ertl are seniors, so many of her peers from this field won’t stand in the way next year.

Kasey Lenarz, a senior from Mahtomedi, won the all around competition with a 38.6

For sophomore Angie Fish and junior Alexys Olson, the beam was their highlight. Both girls qualified for just that event from Section 5A, so while they were there to cheer Ertl on through the first three events, they got to take center stage during the last event.

Fish earned a 9.075 to finish in 12th place for North Branch, and Olson was right behind her in 13th place with a 9.050.

They’ll be in the same boat as Ertl. As underclassmen, they still have time left at the state tournament, while half the girls that finished in front of them will graduate.

“Having three North Branch girls participate on beam at the state meet was a cool experience,” Johnson said after the meet was over. “I was proud of how all three girls handled the state meet.”
The team should be very strong again next year, as all three of those girls will be back for the Vikings. Their only significant loss will be longtime gymnast Annie Gladitsch, who has made a state tournament appearance before. She was a strong leadership presence and a high score to be counted on consistently.

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