After a subpar outing in Tuesday’s win against Owen Valley, the Columbus North gymnasts did a little mental training on Wednesday.
Assistant coach Deshawn Kelley remembered some information she picked up from Olympic gymnastics psychologist Allison Arnold several years ago while attending a clinic in Texas. She relayed that to the Bull Dogs, and they responded in a big way Thursday night.
Led by the 1-2-3 punch of Claire Thompson, Ashley Holliday and Sami Heathcote, North put up its best score of the season in a 110-275-97.3 senior night win against New Palestine.
“We worked a lot this week as a team on how to control our fears and nervousness, and we learned how to calm ourselves down,” Thompson said. “We learned to talk to ourselves and encourage ourselves through every routine, and we learned how much of an impact our brain is on our whole body.”
Thompson, the defending state champion on the bars, beam and all-around, won the all-around with a season-best 37.625. She also took the bars (9.55), beam (9.375) and floor (9.45) and finished second on the vault (9.5).
Holliday, the lone Bull Dogs senior to compete, won the vault with a 9.5 and finished second in the all-around with a 36.9. She also took second on the bars (9.4) and beam (8.9) and third on the floor (9.1).
“It definitely went a lot better than the last two meets, so that’s something to be happy about,” Holliday said. “It’s all about thinking positive and getting positive results.”
Heathcote finished third in the all-around with a 35.5. She was second on the floor (9.25), third on the bars (8.85) and fourth on the vault (9.0) and beam (8.4).
North’s Kaitlyn Calandro took third on the beam (8.65). Ashley Niebrugge was fourth on the bars (8.275) and fifth in the all-around (33.0).
“The scores in the third and the fourth and the fifth slot are consistently coming up,” North co-coach Sandy Freshour said. “Kids are doing better and feeling more confident, and that’s a good thing for us.”
The Bull Dogs’ score was more than a point better than its season-best and more than three points better than Tuesday’s meet.
“I feel like we’re just starting to show our full potential, and tonight is just the start of how we’re going to be this season,” Thompson said.