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Published May 06 2011

Local trio has one last hurdle to clear for national gymnastics title

FARGO - They’re about as different as their routines, yet they’re able to make it work.

Gymnasts Sienna Crouse, Ali Horsager and Savana Kettner have spent a lot of time together traveling to different meets and competitions. So it makes sense that the trio would be traveling to San Diego to compete in the USAG Level 9 National Championships. The meet starts today and ends Sunday.

“Gymnasts from four regions from the western part of America will all be there,” said Crouse, who is an eighth grader at Cheney Middle School. “If we win, we’ll be national champions.”

Sounds pretty simple, but now the goal is to make it happen. Kettner, who is a sophomore at Fargo South, said the gymnastics that the trio performs isn’t like what’s done on the high school level in North Dakota.

She said what she and her teammates do is harder and more demanding than what their high school cohorts would encounter.

All three are quick to point out that being a gymnast doesn’t mean wearing shiny costumes with a matching ribbon used for a pony tail. Being a gymnast means suffering injuries, wearing out your joints and knowing there’s a chance that an injury could happen at any time.

“I know I’ve had to visit a chiropractor quite a few times,” said the 16-year-old Kettner, who has been in gymnastics since she was 2 years old. “Right now, I have my toe wrapped up because I kicked the bar the other day.”

Kettner didn’t kick the bar out of frustration. She kicked it because at 5-foot-6, she’s considered to be tall in the eyes of most gymnasts.

Crouse and Horsager don’t have that problem. But if there is a problem, they’re usually there to help each other out.

Crouse said things aren’t always perfect, but the trio does their best to make sure they get along. Horsager echoed those sentiments.

“I think we do what we can to help out each other and the younger kids around us,” said Horsager, a student at West Fargo. “We just try to set an example.”

Taking first place would be a great example to set for the younger gymnasts at the TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics Academy.

Horsager and Kettner have never been to the national championship meet, while Crouse is making her second appearance. She made it last year and, though she didn’t place, she walked away happy with how she performed.

A win or a strong performance at the national championship would be a great end to a season that has seen them do quite a bit of traveling. The season started in December and since then, they’ve racked up some miles, going from meets in locations such as Minneapolis, Des Moines and Las Vegas.

All of the traveling leads to some entertaining banter. Horsager and Kettner busted Crouse about the fact that she’s a Justin Bieber fan.

“Well, he’s hot,” Crouse said about the Canadian teen sensation.

Bieber or not, there’s going to be more to San Diego than just competing and singing the lyrics to “Baby”, which just happens to be Bieber’s No. 1 hit.

The girls plan on hitting Sea World and seeing Shamu.

When asked if they plan on getting any tips from the orca whale known for its jumps and dives, all three of just smiled and laugh.

“I’ll actually teach him a thing or too,” Crouse said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com