GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Gymnastics Academy (GRGA) Levels 5-9 team gymnasts took to the competition floor for the first time in nearly a year this past weekend.
After the 2020 season came to an abrupt end due to Covid, GRGA gymnasts were grateful to be back in action at the Legacy Luau Meet conducted at the St. Paul State Fairgrounds.
Despite the setback of having limited training time in response to pandemic protocols, GRGA had a great competition against many of the top-ranked gyms in the state of Minnesota.
GRGA fielded a Level 9 “team” of six athletes, which was the highest number of gymnasts competing this level for the program in six years. Jaci Fothergill won the entire competition by posting a 34.65 all-around score. Fothergill also placed first on vault with a 9.55 and bars with an 8.6. Fothergill’s vault score ranked her in America’s Top 100 on Mymeetscores.com – a national website that tabulates the top gymnastics event scores in the country at each level. Fothergill’s 9.55 was the 57th highest vault score in the country for this competitive season to date.
Level 9, Kat Trest led the GRGA team on the remaining two events, beam and floor. Trest scored an 8.925 to take first place on beam and an 8.9 on floor to place fifth.
The Level 8 team was led by Emma Morris in the all-around and vault. Morris posted a 34.05 in her first level 8 meet to lead GRGA and also placed second on vault with a 9.15. Jaden Hebeisen held the top beam and floor scores for the team with an 8.825 and 8.975 which was good for fifth and seventh. Mileena Sladek hit the top bar score with an 8.9, which placed her fourth on that event.
Level 7’s Sophie Halter and Luisa Francis each put together a solid meet with each girl leading on two of the four events. Halter had the top beam score of 8.575 and vault score of 9.0. She hit a personal best all-around of 34.3. Francis led the team on bars with a 7.75 and floor with an 8.9.
Level 6 gymnast, Kennedy Garner, hit the highest all-around total for any GRGA gymnast over the weekend and led the team with a 35.4. She also had the team’s top beam score of 9.1. Evie Renskers hit the top floor score with a 9.125. Teammate Ali Bretto hit a 9.225 on vault to lead the team and also tied with Garner on bars for the top score of 8.25.
GRGA’s Level 5 gymnasts competed with the goal of scoring a 32.00 all-around score to achieve mobility to move up to Level 6. Kali Benes, Hattie Eskeli and Claire Fannin all hit the required score easily and also took home a fourth-place team finish with only three athletes competing. The team hit a score of 103.375 to finish behind North Shore of Maple Plain, TAGS of Eden Prairie and All American of Sioux Falls, S.D. Benes led the team in the all-around with a score of 35.1 and also hit the top floor score of 8.8 and bar score of 8.75. Eskeli set a new vaulting record for GRGA in level 5 with a score of 9.45 that placed her second. She also led the team on balance beam with a score of 8.725.
GRGA will next compete at the Gina Morri Invitational on Feb. 12 and 13, which is also at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.