Defending state champs win sectional; East also advances

The Columbus North gymnasts trailed Bloomington South by almost a full point going into the final rotation of Friday’s Columbus East Sectional.

But the Bull Dogs had chance to do finish with what they do best — the vault.

The third-ranked and defending state champions put together three big-time vaults to score a 28.825 on the final event. Combined with the Panthers’ 26.7 on the beam, that allowed North to pull out a 111.875-110.595 victory.

“We were worried today, but I think we pulled it together when we needed to,” senior Ashley Holliday said. “We had some mistakes. There were some scores that we weren’t supper happy with, but in the end, we pulled it together, and that’s what counts.”

Sami Heathcote gave the Bull Dogs their first vault score that counted, a 9.4. Then, Claire Thompson put up a 9.675. Ashley Holliday ended the run with a 9.75.

The trio finished first, second and fourth on that event.

“We knew that going in, the rotation was going to be in our favor,” North co-coach Bob Arthur said. “To finish on vault in a meet this long is probably a blessing because the girls have to pull out a little bit of energy, while some of the others who had to go on beam and floor had to really reach deep to finish.”

Holliday also won the beam with a 9.45 and tied with teammate Claire Thompson for second on the bars (9.625) on her way to winning the all-around title with a 37.875.

“I’m mostly happy with with how I did tonight,” Holliday said. “I made some improvements on some things. On bars, I had my best score this year, so that’s definitely something to be happy about.”

Holliday and Thompson tied for second on the bars (9.625). Thompson also finished second on the floor (9.425) and in the all-around (37.625). Heathcote took fifth on the floor (9.25) and fifth in the all-around (36.375).

Fourth-ranked Columbus East claimed the third and final qualifying spot to Friday’s East Regional with a 108.1. Owen Valley was fourth with a 106.275.

The Olympians had standout Adi Minor, but for only one event. Minor, who sprained an ankle 10 days ago, won the bars with a 9.725.

“Throughout the week, we weren’t sure I was going to compete at all, and then at practice, we decided I was going to do bars,” Minor said. “I was just really happy to be able to contribute on one event, at least. From where (the ankle) was a week-and-a-half ago, I’m really happy with the improvements that I made, and I’m ready for regional.”

Also for East, Seena Greiwe finished fifth on the beam (9.15) and sixth in the all-around (26.275). Taylor Gaskill sixth on the bars (9.2).

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.