by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Winona State gymnasts Jena Jondahl of Elk River and Sabrina Hoover of Rogers have both qualified for National Collegiate Gymnastics Association meet.
Jondahl, a sophomore who was runner-up in vault at last year’s nationals, is an all-around qualifier this year, after placing fifth at regionals with 37.025 on March 3 at Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Hoover qualified on balance beam, placing ninth at regionals with 9.35. Nationals will be held in Bridgeport, N.Y., on March 23-24.
Brittany DeZiel, Wisconsin-Stout sophomore from Rogers and Spectrum High School, also, qualified for NCGA nationals by placing fourth with 37.225 all-around at the same regionals as above.
Jessie DeZiel, the two-time USA gymnastics national all-around champion and Team USA member from Rogers (Spectrum High School), is dominating as freshman at Nebraska, leading the No. 6 ranked Huskers to a 10-2 record. She’s been Big Ten freshman of the week seven times and won the overall Big Ten honor twice.Competing in her home state Feb. 18, she led the Huskers to a 196.85 to 196.15 win over the Gophers, taking all-around with a career-high 39.6 while winning vault, beam and floor. This past Sunday, DeZiel and teammate Emily Wong tied for top score (39.45) as the Huskers lost to No. 1 Florida 196.95 to 195.825 at home before 2,472 fans.
Hailey Szews, University of Minnesota sophomore swimmer from Elk River and the Aquajets club, helped the Gophers win the Big Ten championship on Feb. 15-18 at the University of Iowa. She scored points placing 13th in the 1650 freestyle (16:27) and 16th in the 400 individual medley (4:20) as the No. 15 ranked Gophers scored 680.5 points, with Indiana next at 651 among 12 teams.
Laura Ryan, Indiana sophomore diver from Elk River who won Big Ten platform diving last year and placed second in one-meter and third in three-meter, missed the conference meet this year because she was competing for Team USA at the FINA World Cup in London. Ryan and Hoosier teammate Amy Cozad placed 10th among 14 teams in synchronized 10 meter diving at London.
Melissa Killpatrick, Wisconsin-Green Bay junior swimmer from Elk River, placed in three events at the Horizon League championships Feb. 22-25 at home, helping her team place third among eight teams. She was fourth in the 1650 freestyle (17:22), fourth in the 400 individual medley 4:29.23) and sixth in the 1000 freestyle (10:24.97).
Monique Weber, North Dakota senior forward from Elk River, has five goals and 13 assists heading into the biggest game of the season Saturday when No. 5 ranked UND (22-11-3) takes on No. 2 Minnesota (31-5-2) on the Gophers’ ice, Ridder Arena, at 4 p.m. with advancement to the NCAA Frozen Four in Duluth at stake. UND is 1-2 against the Gophers. Weber, a Rogers resident, played two-plus seasons at Connecticut, leaving in mid-season her third year. She enrolled UND with one year’s eligibility left.
Alexius Schutt, sophomore goalie from Elk River for Sacred Heart University (Fairfield, Conn.) women’s hockey, had a .915 save percentage, 3.65 goals-against and 10 wins, for an 11-17-1 team. She faced an average of 43 shots per game, and had eight games with 40 or more saves, on the way to setting a team record with 954 saves. Schutt didn’t play high school hockey for the Elks (she played for a club after spending time with the boys JV) but was an outfielder on the Elks state champion softball team of 2009.
Robb Rotramel, Elk River’s record-holder in the 50 and 100 freestyles who placed as high as second at state in the 50, has completed four seasons of swimming at St. Cloud State. In his finale, he anchored a first-place 400 freestyle relay team at the Minnesota Challenge on Feb. 3 at the U of M, as the quartet lowered their school record to 3:03.07. He’s also on the Huskie record board in the 800 freestyle relay (6:53.23) set in 2009. This year, Rotramel achieved B cut times in his best events but didn’t advance to nationals. His career-bests at SCSU were 21.3 in the 50 free, 46.3 in the 100 free, and 1:42.3 in the 200 free, roughly the same as his ERHS times. Rotramel, a finance major, has an internship with IBM in Rochester starting in May. “I’m look forward to a new chapter in my life,” he said.