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Watertown-Mayer/Mound Westonka wins for its coach, Jada Olsen repeats in all-around

By NICK KELLY, Special to the Star Tribune, 03/26/21, 10:30PM CDT


The No. 1 Royals won their first Class 1A title in 17 trips to state for their coach, while Olsen, of Perham/New York Mills, prevailed despite a fall on the beam.

Perham/New York Mills' Jada Olsen competes on the uneven bars in the Class 1A State Gymnastics meet at Champlin Park High School on Friday, March 26, 2021. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngine

Coach Steve Hangartner (photo courtesy Kip Kovar/Herald Journal)

“Being able to win this for our team and also for him means so much,” Royals junior Anna Mielke said. “I’m super honored to be part of the team that gives him this championship.”

Jada Olsen of Perham/New York Mills won the all-around and vault individual championships for the second consecutive year as well as her first uneven parallel bars title.

Mielke led the way for the Royals as she finished second to Olsen by 37.80 to 37.375. Teammate Reagan Kelley finished 6th in the all-around with a 36.70.

The Royals had to wait about seven hours to learn if they’d won. Because of COVID-19 precautions, four sections competed in the morning and four in the evening. The Royals watched the virtual awards ceremony on a livestream at a local restaurant.

The session they watched included Olsen’s state championships in all-around, vault (9.875) and uneven parallel bars (9.675).

Jada Olsen is congratulated by her coach following her first vault. Olsen's score of 9.875 put her in first place in the event. Photo by Cheryl A. Myers, SportsEngin

Libby McGeary of Benson/KMS won the state title on the balance beam (9.60) while Sawyer Gorman of Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa took home the floor exercise title (9.65).

A fall on the beam looked to put Olsen’s all-around championship in jeopardy. She finished 44th on the beam.

“I definitely didn’t think [I won],” Olsen said. “My jaw dropped. I’m like, ‘There’s no way.’ It’s just shock mostly.”

A good kind of shock, as she edged Mielke. The Royals know that feeling.

“It would have been nice to have won it by a couple points, but when it’s down to like three couple tenths, then it means even more,” Hangartner said. “I’ve been on the other side of that when you lose by a tenth or two. To come out on the winning side, you start thinking about every little tenth that means something. That will be something the girls remember forever.”

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