Gymnastics: Ailynn Fettig steps up on the big stage as her season-best all-around score sends her to state
Fettig, a senior, made good on her final opportunity to accomplish a goal she has had for years as she scored a 36.325 to finish third in the all-around scores at the Section 8AA meet in St. Cloud on Saturday.
ST. CLOUD — Alexandria’s Ailynn Fettig just missed making a state gymnastics meet on the bars as a junior last winter. Given a second chance as a senior, she stepped up with her best overall performance of the year on Saturday in St. Cloud.
Fettig scored a season-best 36.325 at the Section 8AA championship to qualify for the Class AA state meet in the all around. The Cardinals finished seventh as a team in the eight-program field after scoring a 134.375.
“It’s a really special thing,” Fettig said. “State has always been a big goal for me, and having that initial disappointment from last year just drove me harder this season. It will be awesome. Competing with all the other girls from my section, and just being able to not only focus on one event but focus on all four of them is really special.”
Taylar Schaefer of St. Cloud Tech led the Tigers to a team championship (147.325) as she finished first in the all-around scores with a 38.200. Lauren Berg of Bemidji was second at 36.975 as the Lumberjacks took second with a team score of 142.300. Catelyn Zack (36.175) of Tech and Madysen Schmidt (36.050) of Bemidji rounded out the top five all-arounders.
Fettig was keeping an eye on how some of her competition was doing in each event, but she did not know she had finished with that top-three qualifying score until her name was announced.
“There were lots of tears of joy,” she said.
It’s an accomplishment that Fettig has been working toward for years.
“My parents put me in the tiny tot classes when I was about 3-years old,” Fettig said. “Ever since then, it’s just kind of stuck with me. I love the determination and drive that gymnastics puts in you because you’re always out there to be better than you were the day before. Over my entire life, I’ve been training in the gym. I have trained off-season and in season, and most of my life has been growing up in the gym. Being there has made me the person that I am today.”
Fettig was 11th on the vault (9.2), right behind her teammate, Sara Eddy (ninth, 9.275). Fettig added a 10th-place finish on the beam (8.950), a six-place finish on the bars (8.850) and then a fifth-place finish on the floor (9.325) to wrap up her day.
“I had felt pretty solid about all of my events throughout that entire meet, and just really proud of what I had put out there,” she said. “Floor just kind of sealed that good feeling within me that I did do a good job today. Then it really didn’t matter about the scores or where I placed because I knew that I went out there and put my best foot forward.”
There were certainly mixed feelings heading into the meet. Nerves were at play knowing this was the opportunity she had worked so hard for, but she brushed that aside to enjoy the experience.
“This entire season, state has always been my big goal,” Fettig said. “There’s a lot of pressure when it’s your last year, so throughout the season I just tried to remind myself that gymnastics is more than just one performance, one meet. Instead of maybe this could be my last meet ever, I tried focusing on, ‘Wow, I get to have this experience with my team doing the sport that I love.’”
The state team gymnastics meet is scheduled for Feb. 18 at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul.
Fettig will take in her last high school competition on the biggest stage in the state when she competes in the individual meet on Feb. 19. The Class AA meet begins at 11 a.m.
“I have been wanting to try out a couple new skills,” Fettig said. “I just played it a little bit safe at sections to make sure that all of my routines were super clean and I had the best chance of making it to state. We always say sections is the hardest part because once you’re at state, you’ve made it. I’m really just going to have fun there and enjoy the experience.”