The Columbus North gymnasts had their hopes of a state championship dashed by a few falls in last year’s state meet.
A third-place finish in that competition has fueled the Bull Dogs’ desire to come back stronger than ever this season and make another run at a state title. With the top three gymnasts returning, North figures it can be in contention March 12 at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.
“We think this is kind of our biggest shot at winning a state title this year, so that’s what we’re going for,” senior Katrina May said. “Last year, we also had the goal of winning state, but we had a couple falls that made it so we weren’t able to win. So this season, I think we’re a lot better prepared than we were last season. We have bigger skills, and we all have better start values for events.”
Junior Ashley Holliday returns after winning the state bars title and finishing eighth in the all-around competition.
“We’re really excited for this season,” Holliday said. “I think we’re pretty prepared right now. My biggest goal is to return to state and do the best of my ability.”
May, a two-time regional all-around champion, finished 13th in the all-around at state last season. Claire Thompson was state runner-up on the beam and 20th in the all-around.
“With the dynamic trio that we have coming back, we’re going to be strong,” said Bob Arthur, North’s co-coach along with Sandy Freshour. “Not only do they have their sights set on a title, I think Ashley really has a fire in her belly to be a top all-arounder this year, too.”
Sophomore Kaitlyn Calandro will likely fill the Bull Dogs’ fourth varsity spot on the vault, beam and floor. Senior Chloe Jorgensen could be in the top six on the beam, and freshman Tova Edwards will likely be in top six in all four events.
Freshmen Ragan Gaskill, who is coming back from a foot injury, and Bryce Gillihan also have club gymnastics experience, while freshman Emma Cooper has a dance background. Junior Emily Vo rounds out the roster.
“We lost a lot of seniors, but we have a lot of new freshmen, which is good,” Thompson said.
The Bull Dogs begin the season Thursday at Bloomington North. They hope to end it with a state title.
“If it weren’t for just a few untimely errors that we had last year…,” Arthur said. “Starting off on floor, we had a couple of falls that put us behind. We came back very strong on vault, then had a fall on bars, which knocked us out of the first or second slot.”
The 2016 Columbus North gymnastics schedule:
Thursday;at Bloomington North;7 p.m.
Jan. 11;at Columbus East;6:30 p.m.
Jan. 21;at New Palestine;6 p.m.
Jan. 28;Bloomington South;6:30 p.m.
Feb. 2;Seymour;7 p.m.
Feb. 13;at Connersville Invitational;11 a.m.
Feb. 16;Conference Indiana;7 p.m.
Feb. 24;Owen Valley;7 p.m.