With seven state cham­pion­ships to her cred­it be­fore Sat­ur­day night — four as a gym­nast, three as a div­er — Northfield’s Bai­ley DuPay wears pres­sure like a favorite pair of jeans.

Going into the in­di­vid­u­al com­pe­ti­tion at the Class 2A gym­nas­tics state meet, there were a num­ber of wor­thy chal­len­gers to DuPay’s 2013 Class 2A all-around title. Brainerd’s Beth Etterman — like DuPay, an e­lite div­er as well — won the vault in her first state meet. Winona sev­enth-grad­er Hal­le Rem­lin­ger, who com­peted in the same ro­ta­tion as DuPay, placed se­cond with a 38.65 all-around.

But it was DuPay’s night. Start­ing the meet with a 9.725 on the vault, DuPay’s pre­ci­sion and body con­trol set her a­part. She won her se­cond con­sec­u­tive Class 2A all-around crown with a score of 39.075, fin­ish­ing with a flour­ish in the floor ex­er­cise, scor­ing 9.775 with every eye in the Sports Pavilion trained on her.

“She just has fun,” said Northfield co-coach Paul Bern­hard. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her shake.”

DuPay finished eith­er first or se­cond in every e­vent, also win­ning the un­even bars and bal­ance beam and tak­ing se­cond in the vault.

With four more cham­pion­ships run­ning DuPay’s num­ber of state ti­tles, both team and in­di­vid­u­al, to 11, Paul Bern­hard said what many have long thought.

“I think she’s the best nat­u­ral ath­lete the state has ever seen,” he said.

Rem­lin­ger made a pitch as pos­si­bly the state’s next great gym­nast, not only with her all-around fin­ish but with a tum­bling pass in the floor ex­er­cise that wowed. Her full-in double-back — a double backflip with a twist — was a first in state tour­na­ment his­to­ry.

“That was in­cred­i­ble,” said MSHSL me­di­a stew­ard and gym­nas­tics a­fi­cio­na­do Amy Doh­er­ty. “That’s nev­er been done at the state meet be­fore. That’s be­yond col­lege level.”

Class 1A

Sela Fadness of Austin took a risk on the bal­ance beam, her least favorite e­vent, know­ing it would make or break her chance of re­peat­ing as the Class 1A all-around cham­pi­on.

Fadness had add­ed a rare back hand­spring lay­out to her rou­tine Sat­ur­day. She nailed it and al­lowed her­self a brief mid-rou­tine smile. She knew she had just over­come her big­gest hur­dle. It was just a mat­ter of clos­ing ev­er­y­thing out.

“I smiled, and I al­most nev­er smile,” Fadness said. “I told my­self ‘Yes, now I’ve got to fin­ish it’.”

She did, jump­ing for joy twice af­ter the e­vent. Her score of 9.675 was not only en­ough to win the e­vent, it pro­pelled Fadness to her se­cond con­sec­u­tive all-around cham­pi­on­ship. She add­ed cham­pion­ships in the vault and the floor ex­er­cise, lead­ing to a ca­reer-high all-around score of 38.7, en­ough to outduel Melrose’s Jailyn Brink­man, who was se­cond with a 38.325.

Brink­man, who led Melrose to the 1A team cham­pi­on­ship Fri­day, add­ed the un­even bars cham­pi­on­ship with a score of 9.65.

Re­mark­able come­back

Vic­to­ries and scores make news, but per­haps the tough­est gym­nast was Mar­tin County West seni­or Re­becca Steen.

Steen broke the C7 ver­te­brae in her neck on a fall off the un­even bars in De­cem­ber. For most gym­nasts, that would be en­ough to end a ca­reer. For Steen, it was sim­ply an ob­sta­cle.

She came back in early Feb­rua­ry and not only led the team to state, she won the vault and qual­i­fied for the all-around com­pe­ti­tion. She didn’t win, but that’s be­side the point. The fact that she was able to com­pete at all was re­mark­able.

“I was just re­al­ly glad to get the chance to come back,” Steen said. “It was dis­ap­point­ing, but I think when I look back, I’ll be able to ap­pre­ci­ate what we ac­com­plished.”


Kyle Steinberg con­tri­buted to this re­port.