Gymnasts rise to the top to earn trips to state tournament

Eighth-grader Heidi Trandahl is part of a promising young nucleus on Rockford’s gymnastics team. (Photo by Charles Read)
Eighth-grader Heidi Trandahl is part of a promising young nucleus on Rockford’s gymnastics team. (Photo by Charles Read)


Three area gymnasts could not be stopped in their quest to compete at the state gymnastics meet Feb. 21 and 22 at the Sports Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

Delano placed second to Breck, 134.125 to 132.700 at the Section 5A meet at Breck and did not advance as a team. However, two Tigers will compete, led by senior Amelia Sutherland on balance beam, floor exercise, vault and in the all-around. Junior Alexus Aguirre qualified on balance beam by winning a tie-breaker for the fourth and final spot.

Sutherland defended her section title on beam, advancing to state for the fifth time in the event. Aguirre competed at state last year in the team competition.

Rockford’s Mikayla Erickson is returning to state on balance beam where she placed second at the section meet with her highest score of the season. 9.2.

“Mikayla has been dealing with a bad back all season, but was not going to let it stand in the way of her chance to get to state,” said coach Jessica Johnson. “She worked hard all season, especially this past week, carefully planning out her practice routines so that she would be ready to compete.”

Rockford placed fifth as a team with a season high score of 127.35. Johnson said the score is the best in six years.

Julia Dalluge finished eighth in the all-around, placing fifth on bars and 10th on vault. Amber Sahli was sixth on the uneven bars.

It was a season filled with many great triumphs, but we also had our share of injuries,” adds Johnson. “It hurt us to have Heidi Trandahl off vault for the month of January. It also hurt us to have Amber Sahli out for a few weeks due to an injured knee.”

In the end, Rockford had the entire varsity group back together to compete at sections. Johnson says that although injuries may have affected the team score during the season, it forced other gymnasts to step up and do their best.

“This happened over and over throughout the season which made it difficult to decide who would be competing at sections,” said Johnson. “I am very excited for seasons to come because the up and coming gymnasts are looking great.”

The final varsity group was made up of seniors Mikayla Erickson, Danielle Patnode and Amber Sahli; junior Madisyn Bartlett; ninth-graders Abby Scribner, Rachel Selly and Skylar Young, plus eighth-graders Julia Dalluge and Heidi Trandahl.

State team competition is scheduled for Friday, with Class A beginning at 11 a.m. and Class AA at 6 p.m. The identical time schedule will be for Saturday’s individual and all-around events.