Alanye Davis was midway through her floor routine in the biggest meet of her life when the unthinkable happened.
The music started to skip.
Undaunted, the Columbus North freshman gymnast soldiered through the rest of her routine, albeit in relative silence. When it was finished, the judges at the Columbus East Sectional allowed her a do-over, and she performed that to hitch-less music.
“When it started skipping, it kind of threw me off, but I just kept going,” Davis said. “I was nervous to do it again, especially since I was worn out from the first routine.”
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Still, Davis, who was filling in after two other Bull Dogs were either sick or injured that night, managed an 8.85. That was one of her best scores on the event and good enough for 17th place out of 38 competitors in the sectional.
Davis’ effort showed just how important a role music plays in a gymnast’s floor routine. Individuals do tumbling, jumps and poses to the beat of their chosen tune.
North senior Ashley Holliday, who owns the state’s best floor score this year, a 9.825, picked a generic hip-hop track.
“It was a lot different than the music I’ve had before, and it’s a lot more fun and it pumps you up a little bit,” Holliday said. “I just have a lot of fun doing my routine to that.”
Last year, Holliday performed her floor routine to the classical tune “Palladio,” a composition of string orchestra sheet music by Karl Jenkins made popular by the Da Beers Diamond commercial. Freshman Sami Heathcote used that music as a club gymnast.
When Holliday switched tunes this year, Heathcote jumped on “Palladio.”
“I didn’t realize that it was also her music until I went to one of their meets,” Heathcote said. “I don’t think I’m as good of a dancer as her.”
Their junior teammate, Claire Thompson, the defending state champion on the bars and beam and in the all-around, does her floor routine to “Bout It,” an instrumental from the movie “Step Up.”
Davis has used the same floor music as Katrina May, who finished second in the state on the floor and in the all-around last year, when the Bull Dogs captured the state team championship.
This week, Davis has been battling with fellow freshman Ashley Niebrugge and sophomore Tova Edwards to be North’s leadoff performer on the floor. Only four gymnasts per team can compete in the postseason, and Holliday, Thompson and Heathcote are entrenched in their roles.
Niebrugge, who competed in the regional, performs to “Love Song,” a Spanish tune that she had cut for her during club gymnastics a couple years ago. Edwards, who did the floor and bars at state last year, uses Spanish music similar to Niebrugge’s.
Meanwhile, Columbus East senior Seena Greiwe scored a personal-best 9.7 to finish second on the floor in Friday night’s East Regional. She searched for the right tune for a long time before settling on music from “Pirates of the Carribean.”
“I looked forever to find one, and that was definitely my favorite,” Greiwe said. “I looked for music that is upbeat and powerful because I am a strong tumbler and I wanted strong music to go along with that. It fit well with my personality and fit well with my tumbling.”
East sophomore Taylor Gaskill performs to Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name.” Her club coach, Shanthi Teike suggested she listen to it last year, and Gaskill liked it. enough to make it part of her routine.
Sophomore Abby Lewis dances on floor to a mixture of seven different genres of music. Junior Adi Minor performs to “Unstoppable,” by The Score.
Despite having the state’s second-best floor score this season, a 9.8, Minor knows her limitations.
“I chose mine because I can’t dance to save my life, and I don’t like to go out and dance and prance around,” Minor said. “So I wanted to do something that I could do poses and just tumble.”
Gymnastics State Finals
When: 1 p.m. Saturday (opening ceremonies at 12:30 p.m.)
Where: Worthen Arena, Ball State University
Teams: Columbus East, Columbus North, Bloomington South, Chesterton, Fort Wayne Carroll, Fort Wayne Dwenger, Homestead, Merrillville, Valparaiso