Athlete of the week: Alex Felt, Elk River, gymnastics: The payoff
by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Alex Felt has been a sparkplug and team player for three years on the powerful Elk gymnastics team, on which she and several other solid performers are overshadowed by some superstars.
But now Felt is now able cap off her career as a state qualifier herself, after a stellar Section 7AA meet hosted by ERHS last weekend.
Felt was runner-up floor exercise with 9.375 and placed fourth all-around with 36.375, both personal-bests. She just missed on beam, tying for fourth with 9.325 but losing out on a tiebreaker. She was sixth on bars and 12th in vault.
“This means a lot. A lot. I’ve wanted to go to state for a long time. I just missed last year on floor,” said Felt.
Coach Jenn Bartlett was delighted to see it all pay off for Felt, who’ll compete at state Saturday evening at the U of M.
“She gets the team riled up with her personality. She is very focused,” said Bartlett. “She’s one of the top 25 students in the class.”
Bartlett assessed: “Alex is very strong on bars with a clear-hip circle, handstand, two giant swings and a double back flip dismount. She is poised on the beam with a great jumping series. Her floor has a unique look with her choreography, presence and tumbling ability. She has a strong vault, a handspring full (twist).”
Felt competed with Twin Cities Twisters before joining the high school team in 10th grade. Her twin brother, Branden, is a team manager.
Asked what she likes about gymnastics, her lone sport, Felt related: “I like the teamwork in gymnastics, and I like setting goals for myself.” She regards bars as her favorite event.
Felt was part of an Elk River-Zimmerman-Rogers co-op that won conference titles all three seasons and 25 consecutive dual meets. Never afraid to speak her mind, Felt has mixed emotions about that. “It’s been awesome,” she said. “But it’s annoying that a lot of people in school don’t even know we have a gymnastics team … and we’ve gone unbeaten the last three years.”
The 5-foot-2 athlete has been a gymnast since age five. She briefly tried diving and track but didn’t enjoy them. The state meet will be her last fling with gymnastics.
“That’s sad,” she said, “but my body is little broken down.”
Her next pursuit, Felt said, will be a career in forensic science.
The Felt scorecard
Personal file – Age: 17 … Parents: Sonya and Eric Swenson; brothers Branden, 17, and Ricky, 20 … Sport: gymnastics …. Other activities: formerly in DECA, diving, and track … Academics: 3.93 GPA … College: currently PSEO at St. Cloud State; plans to attend Colorado Springs State … Ambition: forensic science
Favorite stuff – Class: ninth-grade science with Mr. Niziolek … TV show: “Criminal Minds” … Movie: “The Goonies” … Reading: murder mysteries …. Food: pasta … Drink: Dr. Pepper, and Vanilla Frappuccini … Place she’d like to visit: Mexico