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Grand Forks gymnastics team looks for strong finish

In her first six seasons as the Grand Forks high school gymnastics coach, Courtney Engel hasn't had an athlete achieve a top-10 finish at the state meet. That dry spell could end this weekend in Jamestown. Grand Forks qualified for the state team...

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In her first six seasons as the Grand Forks high school gymnastics coach, Courtney Engel hasn't had an athlete achieve a top-10 finish at the state meet.

That dry spell could end this weekend in Jamestown.

Grand Forks qualified for the state team competition Friday. Individual competition is Saturday, and Sydnee Spivey and Rebekah Kauffman both enter with high rankings.

"To make the top 15, that's the big thing,'' Engel said. "To get in the top 10, that would be phenomenal.''

Spivey, a freshman, is ranked ninth in the floor entering state and also has top-15 rankings in vault (12), bars (13) and all-around (12). Kauffman, a seventh-grader, is ranked 12th in bars.

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Spivey is coming off an EDC Championships performance in which she scored career highs in vault, floor and all-around.

"Sydnee could be in the top 10 in all of her events and in all-around if she competes like she did at the EDC,'' Engel said. "Her skills have been there. She went out and really performed there. And if Kauffman hits her routine in the bars, she could definitely be in the top 10.''

Grand Forks has 11 individual qualifiers-an improvement from last season's eight qualifiers and a total exceeded only by Dickinson (13).

"I don't think it's a surprise,'' Engel said. "We knew they had it in them to get to state. For some of the girls, it's just come down to getting the experience at the high school level.

"These kids have put the work in. Now it's paying off.''

Grand Forks state qualifiers

Here are Grand Forks qualifiers for the state individual tournament, to be held Saturday in Jamestown. Ranking is in parentheses.

• 8th-grader Delani Barrett: Vault (22).

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• 8th-grader Katie Blackmun: All-around (24), bars (23), floor (18).

• Jr. Madelynne Heydt: Vault (32).

• 7th-grader Rebekah Kauffman: All-around (30), bars (12), beam (31).

• Fr. Kayla Lamoureux: Floor (38), bars (34).

• Soph. Julia Miller: Floor (27), vault (26), bars (32).

• 7th-grader Melody Nguyen: Beam (40), floor (33).

• Soph. Sydney Passa: Bars (30).

• Fr. Sydnee Spivey: All-around (12), bars (13), beam (17), floor (9), vault (12).

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• 8th-grader Macie Stanislawski: Floor (22).

• Jr. Charisse Vetsch: Bars (20), beam (36).

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