Dhaene reaches state gymnastics meet

Rangers place fifth at sections

Cambridge-Isanti narrowly defended its Section 7AA gymnastics title at Friday’s meet in St. Francis. The host Fighting Saints finished one-fourth of a point behind the Bluejackets. Forest Lake placed fifth in the eight-team event with 129.975 points.

The meet started on the wrong foot, as sophomore Caitlin Freer was injured in warm-ups and would be limited to one event.

The Rangers then came out and struggled in the first event, the beam.

“After the rough start on beam the girls did a fantastic job,” said coach Ashley Brett.

Jessica Dhaene

Forest Lake posted the third-highest score on bars (32.875) and the fourth-highest score on vault (34.85) and floor (33.975).

Junior Jessica Dhaene qualified to compete at the state meet in vault, bars, floor and the all-around competition.

Her best showing came in vault, where she scored a 9.475 to win the competition by a fifth of a point.

“Her vault was huge,” Brett said. “I’ve never seen her vault like that in practice or competition.”

Already a two-time state competitor on the bars, Dhaene had a scare in that event. Her grip slipped and she fell, but still earned a 9.0 and placed third.

Dhaene’s floor score of 9.35 was good for fourth place. Her all-around total of 35.375 also earned fourth place. Autumn Lefever of St. Francis won the all-around title with a score of 36.475.

Forest Lake also got top-15 efforts from Merina Lenz in the vault (8.6), Katie Dison on bars (8.35) and Amanda Williamson on floor (8.6).

Dhaene will take part in the individual state meet, which begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.

“Practices this week will be all about fine-tuning,” Brett said. “She is ready for the state meet and she has the potential of putting up some big scores on Saturday.”