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Youthful Majettes host only home meet of the season

Ashton Gerard/MDN Minot eighth-grader Makenna Gress builds momentum in her bars routine at the Kim Lupo Memorial Meet Friday at Gymagic.

Even without a full team, the young Minot High School gymnasts brought energy and heart to the Kim Lupo Memorial Meet Friday at Gymagic.

Defending state champions Dickinson High School took home first place with a team score of 144.250 followed by Jamestown with 136.950 and Grand Forks with 134.925 to round out the top three. Minot High School’s total team score was 95.200. Other schools in attendance were Bismarck High, Legacy, Century and Mandan.

The season for the Majettes has been focused on individual performance due to their small number. The team started the season with four athletes but lost one before the season even started.

“Kind of towards the beginning of the season, (Ashlyn Nielson) found out she has an extra vertebrae in her back so she is under pretty strict doctor’s orders not to do any activity,” Werchau said. “She’s still kind of trying to figure out what all this means.”

Despite the small number of girls, the Majettes still continue to push the limits in their performances and proved they are individuals to watch Friday but aren’t without some needed improvements.

“We had a couple areas we need to clean up,” Minot High head coach Robbie Werchau said. “On balance beam, each of our girls fell one time so we kind of need to clean up balance beam a little bit.”

Despite the hiccups, the Majettes threw their best vaults in front of their home crowd and shined in their floor routines.

“This was probably our best vault of the season and I thought floor went well as well,” Werchau said. “I thought we did pretty good overall and I was proud of the girls.”

In vault, freshman Bella Price tied for second place with a score of 9.400. Dickinson’s Ayanna Fossum and Jamestown’s Haley Nelson also had 9.400 in the event. Fellow freshman Iyanah Sharp finished inside the top 10 at ninth with a 9.100. Eighth grader Makenna Gress finished her vault with a score of 8.000.

When Price and Sharp took to the floor, the entire gym seemingly stopped to witness the energy each of the girls bring to their routines.

“It is a little bit uncommon for girls that young to have such strong floor routines and dynamic floor routines,” Werchau said.

Price took second place in her floor routine with a 9.575, just behind Fossum who finished with a 9.650. Sharp took 21st with an 8.450 and Gress finished her routine with a score of 7.775. Price added in a new skill to her routine and the ending result paid off.

Gress, in her first year on the high school team, has been learning a lot from her teammates and other gymnasts in the state. At the meet Friday, Gress performed personal bests in her floor and bars routines.

“She’s feeling her way through at this particular point and learning a lot about competition and gymnastics so I think it’s been a good experience for her,” Werchau said.

In bars, each of the Majettes finished within the top 20. Price took sixth, Gress took 16th and Sharp took 17th.

For beam, Price took 13th, Sharp tied for 22nd and Gress took 43rd.

Next up for the Majettes is the West Region Meet which will be hosted by the Majettes at Gymagic.

“We’ve gotten a little bit more consistent which is always the key for gymnastics and it is individual for us this year because we don’t have a full team, so I think the rest of the season now is not necessarily adding new skills but fixing our routines and getting rid of little mistakes,” Werchau said.

The Majettes will have two weeks to perfect their routines before taking on the West Region Meet Friday, Feb. 15, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Gymagic.

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