MUNCIE — Every little detail mattered in a meet where the top four teams were separated by a half-point.
After winning the state gymnastics title by more than a point-and-a-half last year, Columbus North came up three-tenths of a point short this year. Valparaiso scored a 112.375, while the Bull Dogs (112.075) edged Chesterton (112.05) and Fort Wayne Dwenger (111.875) for second.
“I think we did the best we could do,” junior Claire Thompson said. “We tried our best. Obviously, there’s things that every single person can fix — pointed toes, straight legs. We could all do something better. (Valparaiso) just happened to have a good meet, too.”
Thompson was one of three individuals from Columbus to win event titles. She won the beam with a 9.775, while teammate Ashley Holliday won the vault (9.75) and Columbus East’s Adi Minor tied for first on the bars (9.65).
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The defending state champion on the bars, beam and all-around, Thompson tied for third on the bars (9.625) and 10th on the floor (9.325) on her way to a second-place finish in the all-around with a 38.075. Chesterton freshman Sophia Hunzelman won the all-around with a 38.2.
“It’s always fun to win, but the girl who won was really good,” Thompson said. “She deserved it.”
Holliday finished third in the all-around with a 37.6. The 2015 state bars champion tied for seventh on that event with a 9.525.
North’s other all-around competitor, Sami Heathcote, finished 14th with a 36.4.
“We knew going in it was going to be very close because there are some very competitive teams in the state, and it was going to be just a matter of a few tenths one way or the other,” North co-coach Bob Arthur said. “We pretty much said whoever had the best day that day was going to be the champion. We had a couple places where we maybe could have made some improvements, but we’re certainly not disappointed with second place.
Despite starting on the floor, which some would argue is the hardest event on which to begin, the Bull Dogs found themselves tied for the lead with Fort Wayne Dwenger after scoring a 27.725 on the floor and 28.375 on the vault. North then put up a 27.975 on the bars and led Valpo by five-hundreths of a point going into the final rotation.
The Bull Dogs finished with a 28.0 on the beam — the best of any team — but the Vikings came through with a 28.35 on the vault.
“We came really close, and going in, we had our work cut out for us because to start on floor and finish on beam, I don’t know if that rotation has ever won the state meet,” North co-coach Sandy Freshour said. “To be leading going into that last rotation and then to have a shot at it is just a testament to how hard the kids fought for the whole meet. Everybody performing got us to that podium.”
The Olympians finished sixth, led by the title-winning bars performance from Minor. Minor, who severely sprained an ankle while warming up for the final regular-season meet, was limited to competing on the bars in the sectional and regional.
On Saturday, Minor was able to add the beam and floor, but couldn’t do the vault. She scored a 9.65 on the bars to finish in a tie with Hunzelman.
“My dismount, I took a step, but it was a pretty good routine, I thought,” Minor said. “Compared to last year’s state routine, it was a lot better.”
Minor also finished fourth on the beam with a 9.325 and seventh on the floor with a 9.425.
East’s Seena Greiwe and Abby Lewis tied for sixth on the beam with a 9.225. Greiwe was 15th in the all-around with a 36.3.
“I’m super proud of this team,” Greiwe said. “We’ve had a lot of downs, but we definitely picked ourselves up, and our goal was to make it to state, and we did that. I couldn’t ask for a better team, and I think we went out there and did our best today.”
The Olympians had two other girls compete in the all-around. Lewis tied for 19th with a 35.475, and Taylor Gaskill finished 23rd with a 35.35.
“It was just an outstanding job of girls having to step up and do everything,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “Adi trained hard, and I know it was uncomfortable. Had we had another week, it would have been OK.”