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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 2/25/2012 11:42:12 PM

By Luke Sleeper

Flying relatively under the radar for most of Saturday night’s Class 2A state gymnastics all-around competition, Julia Stedman of North High School covered her face in surprise when her name was announced as the gold medalist.

Stedman’s night got increasingly better with each event, moving up in the standings after each rotation. Her score of 38.4 was 1.25 ahead of silver medalist Mackenzie Dent from Eden Prairie. Dent seemed in control of the meet heading into her last event, the balance beam, after putting together two gold medal-winning routines on the uneven bars and floor exercise. As one of the last competitors left in the event, all eyes in the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion were on her. Dent’s beam routine score of 9.05 was good, but not quite good enough to stay in the lead.

One day after coming up short in defending their title in the team event, silver medal-winning Northfield’s trio of seniors Sveta Mason and Meaghan Howell and sophomore Bailey DuPay put together another great “team” performance Saturday. Each finished in the top 10 in all-around: DuPay won the bronze medal while Mason finished fifth and Howell finished in 10th place. One of the lasting images of Saturday’s competition was surely when the three Northfield gymnasts embraced in a sea of tears after completing their final event, the uneven bars.

Leah Robinette of East Ridge was very much in contention to win all-around gold, as well. Like Dent, it was the balance beam that gave Robinette the most trouble and put her just a shade out of the running. Robinette finished in fourth in the all-around but brought home gold in the vault.

The other gold medalist Saturday night was Roseville’s Katie Quigley, who took first on the balance beam with an impressive score of 9.55. Quigley led her Roseville team to the state team title Friday night.

In Julia Stedman’s all-around championship run, she only won one other individual medal, a bronze in the floor exercise. Stedman finished above the rest because of a steady, well-rounded performance along with a veteran humbleness that only a senior could pull off.
Stedman’s scores per event: 9.725 on the vault, 9.475 on the uneven bars, 9.525 on the balance beam and 9.675 on her floor exercise routine. She is North High School’s first all-around champion.

--Luke Sleeper is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota


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