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Sadie Johnson caps impressive career in gymnastics

Sadie Johnson

For the second straight year, Sadie Johnson of Estelline/Hendricks is celebrating an exciting end to the gymnastic season. The Redhawks senior capped off her prep gymnastics career with another all-around state championship, while her school also defended their overall state title.

Action began on Friday with the team portion of the event. Estelline/Hendricks turned in the best overall performance in vault, bars, beam, and floor to secure the state championship as they went back-to-back in Class A.

“This last weekend was a lot different than last year. Last year we were coming in, definitely the underdogs. We definitely had a chance last year, but it wasn’t as prominent as it was this year,” explained Sadie Johnson. “And then this year, I think the girls definitely felt more pressure, and I felt more pressure to keep their spirits high, and to keep everyone relaxed, calm, and just worrying about gymnastics.”

Estelline/Hendricks finished with a total score of 142.596, ahead of Madison in second (138.911), and Hot Springs in third (136.461).

“My main goal was to just get that team state title. That’s what I wanted to do, I was just focused on going out and getting the best possible scores for my team that I could,” said Johnson. “It was definitely a little tense on Friday, most of my nerves went to that day. I’m not saying I wasn’t nervous for Saturday.”

Last year, Johnson won the state title in Vault, Floor Exercise, and All-Around, with a second-place finish on bars and a fourth-place finish on beam. This year, she won in Vault, Floor Exercise, Beam, and All-Around, while placing third in Bars. Her goal coming into the ’24 event was to once again win all-around honors.

Sadie Johnson

“Winning that title last year meant so much to me. I had these high hopes and I was telling mom "if it’s God’s plan to make me all-around champion again, it’s God’s plan.” Just all throughout the day I was thinking, just one event at a time,” Johnson explained.

Sadie’s floor exercise routine brought in a score of 9.833, which is second all-time in Class A at the state meet.

Another aspect to Sadie’s career that has been enjoyable for her is having her mom Sherri as a coach and her sister Greta as an assistant coach on the squad.

“I personally love it. My mom has just been coach, encouragement, and leader to me in every way possible, and so have my sisters – especially my oldest sister Greta,” Johnson stated. “My mom is always my spotter, she’s always there for me, she’s always encouraging me, so that’s been such a good factor. Another positive is my mom and my sister, I trust them with my life.”

Because she lives in Henricks, Sadie’s sisters competed in Minnesota during their high school gymnastics careers. But now with the school co-oping with Estelline, Sadie’s journey has been in South Dakota.

“There’s nothing like a South Dakota state gymnastics meet. It brings me to tears almost, just seeing all the fans, family members, and people who not only care about their daughters and their family members, but all the gymnasts in general. Everyone wants everyone to do good, and that’s what gymnastics and athletics is all about.

Sadie Johnson finishes her high school gymnastics career with a total of eight individual state championships, four as a senior, three as a junior, and then she had one as well as a sophomore.

As for what's next, she doesn’t yet know, but she’s open to exploring a potential college career in gymnastics as well.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.