Midgets' Karsky and Roadarmel tie for all around champions

Feb. 26—DICKINSON — In Dickinson, Saturday's individual state gymnastics meet became the focal point, showcasing the very best athletes from across the state. The day highlighted perseverance and personal glory, with teamwork emphasizing each event.

Although many athletes did not have to travel far for the occasion, the hosting Dickinson Midgets team secured the top 4 placements, with two of their athletes tying for the championship and sweeping the postseason awards. Rylee Olson received the Powerade State Senior Athlete of the Year award, while head coach Casey Berry was honored with Subway Coach of the Year.

This marked Berry's inaugural Coach of the Year award at the state level, indicating the dedication invested in the program and the recognition of her hard work by coaches across the state. She expressed respect and appreciation for the honor but also conveyed even greater admiration for them advocating for Olson to be the Senior Athlete of the Year, despite undergoing an injury in her final season.

"Olson is such a wonderful kid and such a hard worker and I think this year was really hard for her because of her injury and it is even more special that the coaches still voted for her even though she didn't put the output that we are used to seeing her," Berry said. "I thought it was great and I think she deserved it."

Elizabeth Karsky and Aspen Roadarmel stood together on the winners' podium, sharing the title of co-champions in the individual competition with a score of 38.7, and they couldn't have been happier for each other. Both girls agreed that sharing the state championship title was more rewarding, knowing how much they had individually fought through the season.

"This whole meet, me and Aspen were battling each other for that first place and then for it to come down to a tie was really exciting and it made me smile," Karsky said. "I know she is capable of winning and I knew she could do it and I believed in her so much and to tie with her was really awesome."

Karsky nearly dominated all the events, securing first place in vault (9.9), uneven bars (9.833), and floor exercise (9.733), while also placing eighth on balance beam (9.233).

Her near-perfect score on vault was an accomplishment in itself, breaking a season-long battle of surpassing her own previous record of 9.80.

"I have been trying to get a higher score than a 9.8 all season, because that has been my average, it has been my go-to score," Karsky said. "I finally got the stick that I needed and that was all I had to do was stick it. I was struggling to find it and I finally did."

After her score was announced, Karsky shed tears of joy and excitement, with her teammates basking in the moment with her.

"I will remember all of the team support and all the team work that went on in this whole gym," Karsky said. "I feel like home meets get us very hyped up and we are energetic, we are confident, we keep going ... It is never dull and everyone just keeps their spirits up."

Roadarmel followed closely behind Karsky in all the events, securing second place in bars, floor, and vault. However, she outperformed Karsky on beam, securing a third-place ranking with a score of 9.433. Roadarmel was particularly proud of her vault routine, as she successfully completed a Yurchenko layout for the first time.

"Vault [really helped push me]. I have never done a vault like that in my life. I think knowing that I could get that big score put a spark in me that I ended up pushing myself to my limits and that is what I did. It is the best score I ever gotten

Reygan Strommen and Brooklyn Wariner secured the third and fourth place positions in the all-around, respectively. Strommen performed exceptionally well, finishing in the top three for three of the events. She tied with Jamestown's Julia Skari on vault with a score of 9.5 and with Minot's Haley Conklin on floor with a score of 9.617. Additionally, she narrowly missed taking first place on beam with a score of 9.55, falling just short to Teah Schulte of Century by a tenth of a point.

She rounded out her all-around score of 38.233 with a 9.567 on bars.

Wariner secured fourth place with a total score of 38.233, with her highest individual score of 9.717 on bars, earning her third place in the event rankings. Roadarmel also tied Olson in their beam routines, for third, each scoring 9.433.

Olson's floor exercise marked her swan song, serving as her final event of the day and yielding her highest score of the events with a 9.567. It was a bittersweet day for Olson, realizing that each moment was her last as a Midget.

Despite facing significant adversity with an injury in her final season, upon completing her last event, she was immediately surrounded by her peers and coaches, releasing a somber cry.

With teary eyes, Olson expressed that the Midgets' success stems from their camaraderie and ability to lean on one another. As a leader, she has been a cornerstone for many of the young gymnasts on their squad, but in her moment of need, they made sure to reciprocate the love and support she had given them.

"Even though I had a knee injury and I had a hard time with it, everyone was there for me," Olson said. "My team was there to support me, like they always do. And getting that last routine in, my best event that I had, it's just something I will remember for many years."

Roadarmel acknowledged the challenges they would encounter without their senior teammate next season and the task of maintaining the dynasty's success. However, she expressed confidence that the lessons of encouragement and a strong work ethic had been learned, and they would return to the mats with renewed determination, aiming for a decade of continued dominance.

"You very much have to have a good spirit around you to do good and I know that I love when my teammates cheer for me and I just want to be as supportive as I can and make sure they do their best always," Roadarmel said. "Rylee Olson has taught me that ... support is the most important thing in gymnastics. Make sure you are being loud and make sure that your teammates know you are always there for them."

Dickinson's All-Around

1. Aspen Roadarmel — 38.700

1. Elizabeth Karsky — 38.700

3. Reygan Strommen — 38.233

4. Brooklyn Wariner — 37.817

10. Rylee Olson — 36.317

21. Samantha Simnioniw — 34.050

22. Victoria Whittelsey — 33.783

56. Olivia Kuhn — 8.633

59. Megan Sitter — 8.317