Gymnastics: Elks’ Felt qualifies for state and team places 4th in section

Alex Felt got the silver medal on floor exercise and also qualified for state in all-around placing fourth. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Led by state all-around qualifier Alex Felt, the Elk River-Zimmerman gymnasts made a strong showing in the Section 7AA hosted by the Elks on Friday evening.

Elk junior Alana Embury placed 10th all-around. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The Elks scored 135.25 points and placed fourth among nine teams in a meet dominated by No. 2 ranked Cambridge-Isanti.

Cheering them on were the Rogers portion of the co-op that won Section 5AA on Wednesday.

“Section week is a long week but both of our programs did fantastic,” reflected coach Jenn Bartlett, whose combined team was Northwest Suburban Conference champion.

Alex Felt stuck her landing on the bars where she placed sixth. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Felt, a senior, placed fourth all-around, behind three Cambridge-Isanti athletes, with 36.375, and was second on floor exercise with 9.375.

She’ll compete in state individuals in those two categories next Saturday evening, joining Rogers teammates Sabrina Hoover and Leah Perrault, also all-around qualifiers.

“This means a lot. A lot. I’ve been wanting to go to state for a long time,” said Felt, who just missed last year in floor exercise. She’s been an Elk three years and was with Twin Cities Twisters before that.

Felt also placed fifth on beam with 9.325 and sixth on bars with 8.925. She just missed “state” on beam, tying for fourth, with the tie-breaker (superior judge’s score) going to a Cambridge girl.

“She gets to go to state in two events, and that’s fantastic,” said Bartlett. “It’s what she’s wanted since she joined our program in 10th grade … This was definitely the highlight of her career.”

The Rogers girls, already headed for state, spiffed up in Elk colors and antlers to root for their teammates. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Elk junior Alana Embury placed 10th all-around with 34.925 and got on the podium for vault with 8.925 for seventh place.

“We knew that both Alex and Alana had a chance,” said Bartlett. “Cambridge came in here really tough, tougher than we hoped.”

The Elks had five girls going all-around, each holding her own as Alli Grillo scored 32.875, Jessica Sadlowsky 32.025, and Stephanie DeLong 31.200. DeLong is a Zimmerman student.

Most of the season, only Embury was a full-time varsity gymnast, so the fourth-place finish was a very upbeat conclusion to the season for the rest of the squad.

“Our score was fantastic. We were just hoping for a 133,” said Bartlett. “It’s a tribute to the rest of our athletes. Everybody stepped up and workd hard. We got some great scores on vault and on floor.”

Jessica Sadlowsky scored 32.025. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Felt added: “Our team did awesome. Our goal was 133. I am so proud of all of them.”

Felt had a good start on bars, highlighted by a double back twist. After she stuck her landing, her face was flush with relief and joy.

“That’s only the third double back I’ve stuck the whole season,” she said.

She then stuck her beam, highlighted by a back handstand.

“I was really trying to ‘squeeze’ the whole time so I would stay on the beam,” said Felt, which she accomplished.

Her floor was the highlight as she cruised through a one-and-a-half  twist, a front handspring to layout, and a double back handspring to full twist.

Alli Grillo scored 32.875 all-around. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

In vault, where she has her lowest skills, a front handspring full twist, she scored 8.75 for 12th.

Cambridge-Isanti, which nipped a much stronger Elk team for the title last year, repeated easily with 148.225 to win by nine points over runner-up St. Francis.

The Bluejackets had the top three all-arounders in Emily Vogelpohl (37.45), Ana Solbreck and Cheri Evenson, with Vogelpohl winning vault, Solbreck winning floor, and Nadia Nassef winning beam. The other champion was Forest Lake’s  Jessica Dhaene on bars.

Team scoring

1. Cambridge-Isanti 148.225

2. St. Francis 139.325

3. Forest Lake 136.775

4. Elk River-Zimmerman 135.325

5. Blaine 132.650

6. Chisago Lakes 132.425

7. Coon Rapids 128.150

8. Anoka 111.000

9. Andover 58.650

All-around

State qualifiers

1. Emily Vogelpohl, Cambridge-Isanti, 37.450

2. Ana Solbreck, Cambridge-Isanti,, 36.375

3. Cheri Evenson, Cambridge-Isanti, 36.950

4. Alex Felt, Elk River-Zimmerman, 36.375

Steph DeLong scored 31.20 all-around. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Other Elks

10. Alana Embury 34.925

14. Alli Grillo 32.875

19. Jessica Sadlowsky 32.025

21. Stephanie DeLong 31.200

Vault

State qualifiers

1. Vogelpohl 9.250

2. Solbreck 9.200

3. Marissa Eggerichs, Blaine, 9.175

4. Autumn Lefever, St. Francis, 9.150

Elks

7. Embury 8.925

9. Sadlowsky 8.850

12. Felt 8.750

18. Grillo 8.550

32. DeLong 8.250

Uneven bars

State qualifiers

1. Jessica Dhaene, Forest Lake, 9.450

2. Evenson 9.425

3. Vogelpohl 9.400

4. Solbreck 9.150

Elks

6. Felt 8.925

13. Embury 8.700

29. Sadlowsky 7.375

31. Grillo 7.325

33. DeLong 7.00

Balance beam

State qualifiers

1. Nadia Nassif, Cambridge-Isanti, 9.550

2. Vogelpohl 9.450

3. Solbreck 9.425

4. Evenson 9.325

Elks

5. Felt 9.325

10. Embury 8.700

13. Grillo 8.400

28. Sadlowsky 7.350

29. DeLong 7.300

Floor exercise

State qualifiers

1. Solbreck 9.600

2. Felt 9.375

3. Vogelpohl 9.350

4. Evenson 9.325

Other Elks

17. DeLong 8.650

20. Grillo 8.600

22. Embury 8.525

25. Sadlowsky 8.450

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