North gymnasts carve impressive legacy at state championship

Some athletic teams are what you call “forever teams.” Their accomplishments are the type that endure because of a high level of success achieved or a remarkable ability to overcome obstacles.

It would be safe to say this season’s Columbus North High School gymnastics squad qualifies for such a label.

The girls carved an impressive legacy by winning the state championship meet in dominating fashion March 12. They had set their sights on eclipsing the school record for points. Not only did they do that, but the girls also shattered the state record. North’s 114.85 points broke the previous mark of 114.225 set by Valparaiso in 2008, and broke its old school record of 114.2.

North hoisted the championship trophy for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1973 and 1974. In between, the Bull Dogs had been the state runner-up three times, most recently in 2008. North co-coaches Sandy Freshour and Bob Arthur were the coaches of the ’08 squad, so the championship was a dream come true.

Winning the team title would have been plenty to celebrate by itself. However, efforts by several girls made the victory about as impressive as one could possibly imagine.

Sophomore Claire Thompson won the individual all-around title in large part by also placing first in the uneven bars and balance beam events.

In the two events North didn’t win, it had a second-place finisher: Ashley Holliday, a junior, on the vault, and Katrina May, a senior, on the floor exercise.

For good measure, May also earned the Mildred M. Ball Mental Attitude Award, given annually to a senior for demonstrating mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

The state title was the culmination of a great run by the Bull Dogs, who also won conference, sectional and regional championships this season.

The girls’ talents, determination and positive attitudes were evident and set a great example, and gave Columbus residents reason to be proud.