Gymnastics: Elks nip St. Francis, Buffalo in debut of new coaches

Elk head coach Jackie Deiley (left) and assistant Jenny (Deiley) Vargas had a successful debut as the team won a triangular. Here they greet Krista Kovar after  her balance beam. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

In the debut of their new coaching staff, the Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman won a close three-team meet Tuesday evening, led by all-around winner Krista Kovar.

The Elks scored 126.175, Buffalo 124.075 and St. Francis 123.100 at ERHS.

“We did pretty good for the first time out there,” said Jackie Deiley, head coach. “The girls are right about where we expect to be at this point … This meet was all about early exposure, getting out there and competing.”

Krista Kovar won floor (above) and bars, plus all-around, for the Elks. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Added her sister and assistant, Jenny (Deiley) Vargas, “We have the skills and now we just need to clean things up. A lot of kids threw their bigger skills, and that’s good. We went them competing with them even if they are not perfect yet.”

Kovar, a freshman, scored 33.225 points to win all-around along with uneven bars (8.5) and floor exercise (8.375). The Elks best went was bars with Kovar, eighth-grader Morgan Wallmow and junior Katie Fleck finishing 1-2-3.

Morgan Wallmow placed second in uneven bars. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The Deiley’s are Elk River natives. Jackie competed for the Elks, while Jenny was a club gymnast who went on to star at the University of Michigan. Upon the resignation of Jenn Bartlett (who was Jackie’s coach), the sisters took over a team that’s won four straight conference titles. The two wins extend the program’s dual meet win streak for 35 in a row.

New leaders have to emerge, though. Among three all-conference girls last year, two graduated and the other switched to dance team.

The coaches had Kaylee Jondahl sit this one out. Jondahl, an all-stater in ninth grade, spent the last two winters with a club and came back to the school team for her senior season.

Katie Fleck had a counting score in four events. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Next for the Elks is the Northfield Invitational on Saturday.

Team scores

1. Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman 126.175
2. Buffalo 124.075
3. St. Francis 123.100

Event leaders

Vault — (1) Celene Eide, SF, 8.500 (2) Katie Bownik, SF, 8.250 (3) Lindsey Koosman, Elks, 8.175 … Other Elk scores: Kovar 8.050, Fleck 8.00, Katie Hartneck 7.750.

Uneven bars — (1) Kovar 8.500 (2) Morgan Wallmow, Elks, 8.250 (3) Fleck 8.100 … Other Elk score: Corryn Stelflug 7.200

Balance  beam — (1) Rachel Vouk, SF, 8.350 (2) Kovar 8.300 (3) Stelflug 7.30 … Other Elk scores: Fleck 7.600, Wallmow 6.800.

Floor exercise — (1) Kovar 8.375 (2) Bownik 8.275 (3) Hambleton  8.075 … Other Elk scores: Stelflug 7.300, Fleck 7.225, Hartneck