Ashley Holliday won a sectional all-around title as a freshman, a state bars title as a sophomore and a state team championship as a junior.
But sometimes, the Columbus North senior needs to be reminded that she actually is an elite gymnast.
“Ashley has never realized how good she is,” North assistant coach DeShawn Kelley said. “So any positive encouragement that makes her feel good about herself helps.”
Holliday has been rock-solid ever since arriving at North as a freshman three years ago. She hit a couple of speed bumps earlier this season, but rebounded to win all-around titles the past two weekends at the Connersville Invitational and the Conference Indiana meet.
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On Saturday, Holliday set a Conference Indiana record in winning the floor (9.825), and tied her own conference records in winning the vault (9.75) and all-around (38.275). She also won the bars (9.75) to lead the third-ranked Bull Dogs to the team title.
“This season has been a roller coaster,” Holliday said. “There have been lots of ups and downs. I’m just hoping that me and my teammates are about to peak now in the postseason.”
Saturday was Holliday’s first fall-free meet of the season, and as a result, her all-around score was a career best. Her previous high was a 38.125 at state last season, when she finished fifth in the all-around. She also finished second on the vault and fourth on the floor in last year’s state meet.
Holliday, who has been sick for much of the past two weeks, credits her clean routines on Saturday to coming to practice every day with a goal to work on a specific skill or event and get better at it. She said even after her subpar meets, she always tried to stay positive and think about an upcoming meet where she could do better.
“She’s a hard-working kid, and the skills that she’s working are not easy skills,” North co-coach Bob Arthur said. “It takes a lot of repetition to get the quality that we need. You have to do a lot of these skills many times to get that confidence level up, and she’s now getting to the point where she’s made some of these skills in her routines in competition. She’s jelling at the right time.”
The Bull Dogs begin the postseason tonight at the Columbus East Sectional. The East Regional is March 3, and the state finals are March 11 at Ball State.
Those likely will be the final gymnastics competitions in Holliday’s career. She is planning to attend Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and is leaning toward majoring in accounting or finance.
“I just want to have fun with these last few meets,” Holliday said. “It’s been really great these last four years, and I just want to end it on a good note.”
Columbus East gymnastics sectional
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Columbus East High School
Teams: Columbus East, Columbus North, Bloomington North, Bloomington South, Brebeuf Jesuit, Franklin Central, Indianapolis Scecina, Martinsville, Owen Valley, Roncalli, Seymour
Advancement: Top three teams and top six individuals on each event and the all-around move on to the March 3 Columbus East Regional.