by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Eighth-grader Alyssa Walton supplied perhaps the highlight of the meet as the Elk River-Zimmeran-Rogers gymnasts stayed unbeaten in conference with a victory over the Champlin Park Rebels at home on Thursday evening.
Walton took a risk on her third pass and came out OK as she scored 9.100 on floor exercise to place second and beat her two-time state all-around champion teammate Sabrina Hoover. That capped off a 32.575 all-around score that was third behind Hoover (36.900) and Alana Embury (33.550).
The Elks, sporting new leotards more showy than their previous uniforms, won 137.750 to 128.175.
“Over Christmas break we were working on brand new passes for her,” said coach Jenn Bartlett about Walton. “We we wavering on her last pass because the first two had bonus skills she didn’t have before. We left the third pass up to her and were not sure what she was going to throw.
“She went ahead and threw a higher-difficulty skill! So she hit all three of her passes and got a nine for the first time. That was quite an accomplishment for an eighth grader.”
Other highlights: “Alana Embury is getting consistent on her sukes (tsukahara) on vault, so that is nice. We got Alex Felt back in the lineup after she went on a family vacation to Texas and she had a nice bar score for us. We have a lot of awesome things happening and everyone is getting on the bandwagon.”
Hoover is fighting through a pulled muscle in her thigh that makes it difficult to practice. She still won vault (9.20), bars (9.225), and beam (9.525) while placing third on floor (8.95) with one stumble.
“For Sabrina to get that 9.525 on beam was very good,” said Bartlett.
Felt was second on bars with 8.525, clicking through her giants, a kip and a flyaway, and third on beam with 8.300.
Champlin Park’s Lexi Marquard won floor exercise with 9.150 and placed second on beam.
The Elks are 4-0 in conference and scoring in the high 130’s. Last year’s dream team with four girls who got on the podium at state (only Hoover remains) got over 150. The 2010-11 squad won’t see those numbers but remains a force.
“I think we are still awesome,” declared Felt. “We are not at our full potential but we have a long time yet to peak, so we will get there …. I think our potential is 144, 145, once we go full throttle.”
And get healthy.
“Two of our girls have mono and everybody is sick,” Felt said. “We disinfected our whole gym yesterday.”
Leah Perrault, the team’s No. 2 all-arounder, was diagnosed with mono on Tuesday. She was at the meet but inactive. Courtney Bursch has missed several meets with mono and is expected back next week.
“We’ve got some sore ankles and thighs, too,” said Bartlett.
The Elks unveiled new leotards in this meet, with more color and cut higher on the hip.
“The girls wanted something different, more colorful, more girly, more their personality,” said Bartlett. “One of the girls said, ‘This makes us look like we have legs now!’ ”
Next for the Elks the Faribault Invitational on Saturday. That meet was added to the schedule this year because the Dana Hunt Invitational, usually hosted by the Elks in early January, was put on the shelf for two years, said Bartlett.
Elk River 137.750, Champlin Park 128.175
1. Sabrina Hoover, ER, 36.90
2. Alana Embury, ER, 33.550
3. Alyssa Walton, ER, 32.575
4. Amanda Cunningham, CP, 32.425
5. Cassidy Soli, CP, 31.325
1. Hoover 9.200
2. Enbury 9.075
3. Walton 8.650
4. Jessica Sadlowsky, ER, 8.600
5. Cunningham 8.550
6. Jamilla Dukuly, CP, 8.400
Uneven parallel bars
1. Hoover 9.225
2. Alex Felt, ER, 9.525
3. Cunningham 8.325
4. Embury 8.100
5. C. Soli 7.625
6. Somer Soli, CP, 7.450
7. Sadlowsky 7.250
1. Hoover 9.525
2. Lexi Marquard, CP, 8.475
3. Felt 8.300
4. Walton 8.200
5. Aly Grillo, ER, 7.775
6. Embury 7.525
1. Marquard 9.150
2. Walton 9.150
3. Hoover 8.950
4. Embury 8.850
5. Anna Huynh,CP, 8.750
6. Sadlowsky 8.375