JACKSON - Martin County Area junior Rebecca Steen, along with Jackson County Central's senior trio of Sydnee Donnelli, Brandi Sether-Hassing and Adriane Rentschler, collected the majority of the top marks on the judges' scorecards during Saturday's Section 3A gymnastics meet.
In fact, the Fab Four earned 15 of the sectional meet's 20 individual state-qualifying spots on the equipment in Jackson, including each gymnast striking gold on each individual event.
Donnelli, Sether-Hassing and Rentschler packed a respective 1-2-4 scoring punch in the all-around competition to power the Class A, No. 4-ranked Huskies to the sectional team championship.
STATE QUALIFIER — Martin County Area gymnast Rebecca Steen strikes a pose at the beginning of her floor routine during the Section 3A Meet on Saturday in Jackson. Steen went on to qualify for the Class A individual state meet as an all-arounder. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Donnelli's first-place all-around point total of 36.575, along with Sether-Hassing's runner-up mark of 36.45 and Rentschler's fourth-place effort of 35.675, fueled Jackson County Central's winning team score of 143.125.
Steen, the 2012 Section 3A all-around champion, generated a third-place total of 35.75 points during Saturday's overall competition to engineer the Magic's second-place team showing of 133.925.
"I'm very proud of the fact that our girls were the section runners-up today," said Martin County Area mentor LeeAnn Steen. "Obviously, it was also nice to have Becca qualify for state, and Martha (Olson) earn a medal on the vault today.
"We (coaching staff) knew that she (Olson) would have a legitimate shot at state with her Tsuk, and she almost got there with an 8.875 to finish sixth on the vault."
Rebecca Steen, the Huskies' talented trio and the other Section 3A individual state qualifiers compete in the Class A individual state meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.
From a team perspective, Jackson County Central makes its second consecutive trip to the Class A state competition. The Huskies hit the Sports Pavilion's equipment at 11 a.m. Friday.
"You work all season long to get to this meet (sectional). It's only one day, and you have to hit your routines or you don't advance," said Magic assistant coach Brian Steen.
"Everything after this meet is a bonus," Rebecca Steen added with a smile.
Rebecca Steen planted her Tsuk to earn yet another trip to the Twin Cities via her gold-medal showing on the vault with a 9.475.
Donnelli (9.3), Rentschler (9.1) and Redwood Valley's Ashley Bunting (9.0) rounded out the event's four state qualifiers, respectively, by turning their own versions of Tsuks off of the vaulting table.
For Donnelli, reaching this year's Class A state meet proved even sweeter than her prior five appearances due to a season-long battle with ankle injuries.
"I had hurt my ankle at the end of volleyball season, so I wasn't healthy to start the (gymnastics) season," said Donnelli. "I injured it again during the early part of our schedule, and really didn't return to competing all-around until after the Sweetheart (Invitational on Jan. 19), so I'm very appreciative to qualify for state again."
Donnelli turned a one-and-a-half to cap her opening tumbling sequence to help pace a first-place score of 9.5 on the floor exercise.
Sether-Hassing did likewise during her initial floor sequence to highlight a silver-medal score of 9.35, while Worthington's Paige Kinley (9.325) and JCC's Brooklyn Schuett (9.2) nailed down the final two state-qualifying spots.
Sether-Hassing later made a textbook transitional move from the high bar to the low one via a bale, spun two tight giants and stuck her dismount to generate a gold-medal mark of 9.025 on the unevens.
Donnelli converted a toe-shoot transitional maneuver from the low to high bar, spun a pair of giants and hit her dismount for a second-place score of 8.825, while Steen transformed a counter-swing move, two giants and solid footing on her landing into a bronze-medal mark of 8.55.
Hendricks/Russell-Tyler-Ruthton's Hailey Teske tallied an 8.45 to round out the uneven parallel bars' top four.
Rentschler proved the fourth different gymnast to win on the equipment on Saturday, hitting an aerial on the balance beam to highlight a winning score of 9.375.
Sether-Hassing (9.325), Kinley (9.175) and Steen (9.025) completed the state qualifiers on the 4 inch-wide apparatus, respectively.
2013 SECTION 3A
Team Standings (Champion advances to state): 1. Jackson County Central 143.125; 2. Martin County Area 133.925; 3. Windom Area 130.675; 4. Worthington 130.5; 5. Hendricks/Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 129.025; 6. Luverne 125.825; 7. Redwood Valley 124.95; 8. Pipestone Area 117.0; 9. Marshall 105.225; 10. St. James 97.225.
(Top 4 advance to state)
All-Around (Top 6 medalists): 1. Sydnee Donnelli (JCC) 36.575; 2. Brandi Sether-Hassing (JCC) 36.45; 3. Rebecca Steen (MCA) 35.75; 4. Adriane Rentschler (JCC) 35.675; 5. Ashley Bunting (RV) 35.15; 6. Paige Kinley (WOR) 34.325.
Vault: 1. Rebecca Steen (MCA) 9.475; 2. Sydnee Donnelli (JCC) 9.35; 3. Adriane Rentschler (JCC) 9.1; 4. Ashley Bunting (RV) 9.0; 5. Michaela Vancura (JCC) 8.9; 6. Martha Olson (MCA) 8.875.
Other MCA scores: Sydney Leichtnam 8.65; Mackenzie Betts 8.6; Michaela Twitchell 8.425. Other JCC scores: Brandi Sether-Hassing 8.75; Riley Schneekloth 8.75.
Uneven Parallel Bars: 1. Brandi Sether-Hassing (JCC) 9.025; 2. Sydnee Donnelli (JCC) 8.825; 3. Rebecca Steen (MCA) 8.55; 4. Hailey Teske (HRTR) 8.45; 5. Ashley Bunting (RV) 8.425; 6. Adriane Rentschler (JCC) 8.325.
Other MCA scores: Sydney Leichtnam 7.5; Andrea Thate 7.425; Kayla Shantz 7.4; Michaela Twitchell 7.175. Other JCC scores: Abby Schneekloth 7.975; Haley Bass 7.75.
Balance Beam: 1. Adriane Rentschler (JCC) 9.375; 2. Brandi Sether-Hassing (JCC) 9.325; 3. Paige Kinley (WOR) 9.175; 4. Rebecca Steen (MCA) 9.025; 5. Sydnee Donnelli (JCC) 8.9; 6. Madison Schandelmeier (LUV) 8.7.
Other MCA scores: Jenna Steele 8.625; Brooklyn Leichtnam 8.1; Mackenzie Betts 7.925; Maggie Bachenberg 6.35. Other JCC scores: Haley Bass 8.15; Bailey Schneekloth 8.05.
Floor Exercise: 1. Sydnee Donnelli (JCC) 9.5; 2. Brandi Sether-Hassing (JCC) 9.35; 3. Paige Kinley (WOR) 9.325; 4. Brooklyn Schuett (JCC) 9.2; 5. Ashley Bunting (RV) 9.175; 6. Michaela Vancura (JCC) 9.075.
MCA scores: Rebecca Steen 8.7; Lexy Ringnell 8.55; Maggie Bachenberg 8.45; Brielle Meade 8.075; Martha Olson 8.025. Other JCC score: Adriane Rentschler 8.875.