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home : sports : sports
March 22, 2023

3/6/2023 10:01:00 AM
Dakota Esget wins first state title in NB gymnastics history

Dakota Esget decided to add a new dismount skill to her uneven bars routine for the state tournament, and she knew if she could put everything together, it would lead to a great score.

What wasn’t quite expected was the new skill, combined with a near flawless performance leading up to the dismount, would launch the sophomore to a state championship in the event  Saturday, February 25, a first for the North Branch gymnastics program.

Esget’s routine was scored at 9.575, which just narrowly beat out Watertown-Mayer’s Reagan Kelley, a senior  who scored a 9.525.

“We wanted to wait to add the skill until the state tournament to help her get more consistent with it,” Head Coach Chris Johnson said. “She’s normally so pumped up and struggles at times with adrenaline, but she was solid throughout the meet and then ended with the fantastic bar routine.”

What makes Esget’s accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that she didn’t  qualify for the uneven bars event at last year’s state meet, a stunning jump for the sophomore.

“She’s always loved uneven bars and had a great routine last year, but a fall in sections kept her from state,” Johnson explained. “But once she hit this routine, I knew she had the chance to medal, but when she won the state title, we were so ecstatic.”

Coach Johnson continued, saying, “Dakota is the hardest working girl in the gym. She does not give up and she does not stop. This just proved that her practice paid off. She’s had the high level skills, but at this level, it’s all about the consistency and presenation, and she nailed it.”

Esget’s phenomenal performance in the uneven bars was the conclusion to a great state meet overall, as she finished in sixth place on the vault and sixth place on the floor for a third place overall finish in the all-around. Out of the top nine finishers, only Esget and Chisago Lakes’ Ella Rhein are underclassmen. The other seven are seniors.

She even had to do her floor routine twice in a five minute span as there were skipping issues with the music during her first one and the meet directors allowed her another attempt at the taxing event, which she took advantage of.

Esget scored a 9.5625 in the vault, a 9.450 in the floor and a 8.9375 in the balance beam. Her all around score was 37.425. Kelley was the state champion with a 38.50 and Esget’s section-mate senior Britney Krumrei of Big Lake was second with a 38.150.

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