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Joe Ritger, left, and Charlie Jerry, both of River Falls, earned medals at the Minnesota Men's USA Gymnastics State Championships at Irondale High School in New Brighton March 16-17 as members of the Great Northern Gymnastics team. Submitted photo

Local boys shine in gymnastics

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A pair of River Falls boys are making a splash in gymnastics with the Great Northern Gymnastics program in St. Paul Park.

Joe Ritger, a fifth grader at Rocky Branch Elementary school, and Charlie Jerry, a Meyer Middle School sixth grader, both took home medals from the Minnesota Men's USA Gymnastics State Championships at Irondale High School in New Brighton March 16-17.

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Jerry, a Level 7 gymnast, competed March 17 and placed first in the floor exercise, fourth in the vault and seventh in the all-around while helping the Great Northern Gymnastics Level 7 team to a second place finish.

Ritger, a Level 5 gymnast, competed March 16 and placed second on the floor, third on the high bar and eighth in the all-around.

Both boys started gymnastics locally, but since there is no competitive boys' program in River Falls they had to find other clubs in order to compete. Jerry participated in the Hastings program before it closed and he moved to Great Northern. Ritger was at Hastings for a short time before it closed and ended up at Great Northern, where he met Jerry for the first time this year.

Jerry will move up to compete as a Level 8 gymnast next year while Ritger will skip Level 6 and compete at Level 7. Both aspire to reach Level 10.

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