Austin’s Fadness is state floor champ
MINNEAPOLIS — Austin sophomore Sela Fadness is a state champion.
After a day of intense pressure and some impressive routines at the Class ‘A’ individual gymnastics meet at the University of Minnesota Pavilion Saturday, Fadness finished in first place in the floor exercise with a score of 9.650. That mark tied her with Melrose senior Hailey Brinkman, who won the all-around-championship at the meet.
Fadness, who is Austin’s first state champ since Amy ‘Bickler’ Hajek won the floor in 2002, saw Brinkman’s routine before taking the floor.
“I was a little nervous going into it,” Fadness said. “Hailey Brinkman is a really good gymnast and that got me excited and pumped up to try and top her score. To tie with her is just an honor.”
Fadness shined in her other events as she took third in the all-around, fourth in the bars and third in the vault. Her all-around score of 37.750 was her best of the season as the best gymnasts in the state brought the best out of Fadness.
“It was nerve racking, but it pushed me to go harder,” Fadness said. “The competition’s good, I like it and it keeps me on my toes.”
Austin freshman Abby Bickler had a solid day in her first all-around state meet. She finished fourth in the floor and was 16th in the all-around.
Bickler was glad to have the chance to be on the same floor as Minnesota’s best gymnasts.
“There’s no feeling like it and you just have to experience it,” she said. “It’s something that you get once in a lifetime, that hopefully I’ll get more than once. It’s an experience you can never explain.”
Bickler said having Fadness next to her on the podium made the day even sweeter.
“It’s amazing to know that I’m that girl that others can look up to who want to be in my position,” she said. “To have my teammate up there with me makes it ten times better.”
Austin eighth grader Logan Tischer finished 32nd on the floor in her first state meet experience and freshman Carolyn Hackel took 20th on the floor and 22nd on the bars.
Hackel almost didn’t compete on the bars as she took a harsh fall from the top bar and landed on her back right as warm-ups ended. But she got up and finished a solid routine for an 8.6.
Austin head coach Mark Raymond said Hackel’s bars routine is a story he’ll share with other gymnasts in the future.
“A lot of girls would’ve quit and they would’ve been done or folded and said their leg hurts or they’re
scared,” Raymond said. “She popped back up and threw one of her best routines of the year. I’m more proud of her for that than anything she’s done all season.”
Fadness’s success comes a year after she competed with a club team in Pine Island last season. She said competing with her high school team this season was a great feeling.
“It let me do a lot more things I couldn’t do last year and it let me have a team,” she said. “Last year was more individual and I like having a team. It was a good season and I’m sad to see it end.”
Floor: Sela Fadness (second, 9.650); Abby Bickler (fourth, 9.450); Carolyn Hackel (20th, 9.150); Logan Tischer (32nd, 8.2750)
Beam: Fadness (12th, 9.025); Bickler (44th, 8.475)
Bars: Fadness (fourth, 9.650); Bickler (19th, 8.775); Hackel (22nd, 8.60)
Vault: Fadness (third, 9.5750); Bickler (23rd, 9.1625)
All-Around: Sela Fadness (third, 37.750); Abby Bickler (16th, 35.875)