Gymnastics | Northfield, DuPay add more hardware

The Section One, Class AA gymnastics meet is always a beehive of activity, with four events going on simultaneously and the gym constantly abuzz with shouts and cheers and lots of peripheral noise.

The Section One, Class AA gymnastics meet is always a beehive of activity, with four events going on simultaneously and the gym constantly abuzz with shouts and cheers and lots of peripheral noise.

That is, until Bailey DuPay takes the stage for an event. Then a hush sweeps over the crowd, and all eyes are on perhaps the best gymnast that this state-qualifying meet has ever seen.

"I definitely notice it," DuPay said. "But for me, I thrive under pressure. I like performing in front of a big crowd, and feeding off that energy."

DuPay was well-fed Friday night at the Mayo High School gymnasium, where the Northfield senior won the individual all-around competition for an unprecedented fifth time, and also led the Raiders to a seventh straight section crown.

DuPay won all four events -- the vault (9.6), uneven bars (9.85), balance beam (9.425) and floor exercise (9.675) -- and her all-around score of 38.55 was just .40 off the meet all-around record.


"Bailey is as close to perfect as they come," Rochester co-head coach Amy Stites said of DuPay, the two-time defending state all-around champ.

"She's the only girl to ever get a standing ovation at the state meet," Northfield coach Paul Bernhard said.

DuPay didn't post her best scores of the season. She has been battling back pain, and went for ice as soon as the competition ended.

"On beam I didn't get my tumbling connection, my bars score wasn't as high as I thought, and I don't think I performed on the vault as well as I could," she said.

"She's saving something in the tank (for state)," her coach said.

It was no surprise that DuPay dominated another section meet. But DuPay and Bernhard were elated with their convincing team win.

Bernhard said his team was decimated by injuries during the season with six concussions and a handful of ankle sprains and back pain issues. The Raiders were scoring down in the 125-point range at one point. and DuPay was afraid their string of trips to state as a team was in jeopardy.

Bernhard said this was the first time the Raiders have been at full strength all season. Northfield won the Big Nine Conference meet last week with 144.65 points and a slightly different lineup.


"There were definitely doubts," DuPay said. "But me and Christy (Anderson) as captains had to hold our expectations together. Having everybody back was definitely helpful."

Anderson, another senior, finished second all-around and was second to DuPay on the bars and floor. Bernhard was encouraged when DuPay scored 9.85 and Anderson 9.7 on the bars in Northfield's first rotation.

"We were clean on the bars and didn't have any falls," he said. "When started strong there, I told the girls we're on cruise control. Nobody was going to beat us."

With eight seniors on his roster and having overcome so many injuries, Bernhard said this has been his "most special" season in 14 years of coaching gymnastics.

"It's just nice to be done with this meet; I feel like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders," he said. "We're going to shock some people at state."

DuPay, incidentally, has decided she will not pursue college gymnastics. Rather, she will dive competitively at Minnesota State-Mankato.

"I really struggled trying to decide between the two," she said. "Diving is a lot easier on my body. I'm struggling just to get through this last high school gymnastics season; my body couldn't take four more years in college."

CENTURY EXCELS:Century finished the season on a high note with a program record 141.525 points, and two Panthers qualified for state, juniors Andi Jacobs and Natalia Jacobson.


Mayo finished seventh with a season-best score of 128.475, and John Marshall also scored a season-high 116.4 for eighth.

"This was really a strong showing for us; a lot of girls hit personal bests," said Shane Hewitt, who was named the section Co-Head Coach of the Year along with Stites.

Jacobs is back at state for the second time in gymnastics, after finishing fifth last year on the bars. She will compete in all four events this time.

"Andi is one of the hardest workers; she's the first to get to practice and the last to leave," Hewitt said. "She a very, very driven athlete."

Stites said she felt badly for Mayo senior Callie Burrichter who finished fifth on the beam (9.175) and fifth all-around (36.85), narrowly missing the cut-off for state in both.

The winning team and the top four individuals in each event advance to the Class AA state meet Friday (team) and Saturday (individual) at the University of Minnesota Sports Pavilion.


Friday at Mayo H.S.


Team scores

Northfield 146.375, Century 141.52, Owatonna 140.025,Winona 138.8, Farmington 137.225, Faribault 135.45, Mayo 128.475, John Marshall 116.4.

Vault— 1. Bailey DuPay (N) 9.6; 2. Andi Jacobs (C) 9.475; 3. Maria McDonough (FARI) and Natalia Jacobson (C) 9.4; 5. Lexi Kiefer (N) 8.375; 6. Callie Burrichter (M) 9.35.

Uneven bars— 1. DuPay 9.85; 2. Christy Anderson (N) 9.7; 3. Jacobs (C) 9.55; 4. Jacobson (C) 9.45; 5. Amanda Davenport (FARM) 9.325; 6. Hayley Gerdes (W) 9.15.

Balance beam— 1. DuPay 9.425; 2. McDonough (FARI) 9.35; 3. Jacobs (C) 9.2; 4. Anderson (N) 9.2; 5. Burrichter (M) 9.175; 6. Jacobson (C) 9.075.

Floor exercise— 1. DuPay (N) 9.675; 2. Anderson (N) 9.65; 3. Jacobson (C) 9.6; 4. Jacobs (C) 9.525; 5. Madeline Woodford (JM) 9.4.

All-around— 1. DuPay (N) 38.55; 2. Anderson (N) 37.85; 3. Jacobs (C) 37.75; 4. Jacobson (C) 37.525; 5. Burrichter (M) 36.85; Davenport (FARM) 36.325.

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