For the better part of a decade, Ashley Holliday, Adi Minor and Claire Thompson competed together at Jody’s Gymnastic Zone.
The trio were on the same Level 9 team in 2012-13 when Holliday was an eighth-grader and Minor and Thompson were in seventh grade. After that season, Jody’s closed, and Holliday headed off to begin high school at Columbus North.
Minor and Thompson competed for the newly-opened Victory Gymnastics Academy their eighth-grade years. But being the only two older girls, they also went the high school route the next year, with Minor going to Columbus East and Thompson heading to North.
Holliday won a state bars title as a sophomore in 2015. Last year, Thompson won the bars, beam and all-around to lead the Bull Dogs to the team title.
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This year, all three of the elite Columbus gymnasts brought home state titles. Holliday won the vault, Minor tied for first on the bars and Thompson repeated as beam champion.
The trio are this year’s The Republic Gymnasts of the Year.
Finishing in style
Although her biggest success in the past had come on the bars, Holliday’s top event this year was the vault. She won sectional, regional and state titles this year, all with scores of 9.75.“I had really high hopes,” Holliday said. “I knew it was a possibility, but I didn’t know if it would really come true. Vault has always been one of my better events, and this year for sure, it was a goal of mine to do well at state on vault.”
This year, Holliday won the all-around championship at the sectional. At state, she tied for seventh on the bars, tied for 14th on the beam and finished 15th on the floor. That enabled her to place third in the all-around with a 37.6.
Holliday, who is going to Indiana University to major in business, is finished with competitive gymnastics.
“There were a lot of ups and downs this season,” Holliday said. “There were some good parts. I’m happy with how we ended. Since it was my last meet ever, I really wanted to go out with something positive, and that definitely did the trick.”
Minor had the state’s best scores on the vault, bars, beam and all-around heading into East’s final regular-season meet when she ran into trouble. She severely sprained her left ankle while warming up for the vault.Unable to put much weight on the ankle, Minor was able to compete only on the bars at the sectional and regional. At state, she did the bars, beam and floor.
“That (injury) came at a bad time,” Minor said. “It was kind of upsetting, but I was just happy to be able to go up there (to state) and do more events than just bars because that was really frustrating. But I left with positive things. My goal for state was just to go and make it through.”
Minor tried to warm up for the vault the morning of the state competition, but soon realized she wasn’t getting much push off the ankle. Bars was her first event.
Her score of 9.65 held until the final rotation of the day, when Chesterton’s Sophia Hunzelman, who would win the all-around title, tied that mark.
“I was really surprised because on the other events, I was just trying to make it through,” Minor said. “But bars, I knew that I still had to compete because you don’t really use your ankle. Toward the end of the meet, I started realizing that I had a higher-up score.”
Minor also tied for third on the beam an finished seventh on the floor at state. Earlier in the season, she broke school all-around record with a 39.2.
Minor, who missed all of the postseason her freshman year with a broken leg, is hoping to stay healthy next year.
“It’s an even year,” Minor said. “Those go better than odd years, I’ve come to realize.”
Thompson had an admittedly inconsistent year, especially on the beam.But beam is her favorite event, and she was the defending state champion on the event. So when she broke her own school record with a 9.775 as the final beam competitor in the state finals, she knew she had another title.
“Whenever I got to state, I was like, ‘Thank goodness I made my beam routine. I don’t even care what my score is,’” Thompson said. “All I wanted to do is make it because I had put so much pressure on myself, especially after winning it last year. I just wanted to do the best beam routine that I know I can do, and I was having a hard time doing that this year.”
Thompson also tied for third on the bars, tied for 10th on the floor and finished 17th on the vault at state on her way to placing second in the all-around with a 38.075. She had won the all-around at the regional with a 38.225.
The efforts of Thompson and Holliday led North to a second-place finish in the state team battle, just three-tenths of a point behind Valparaiso.
“You always want to win,” Thompson said. “I feel like we still did really good. Considering the pressure our whole team had on us, I’m super proud of how we did. It would have been cool to get first place, but there’s not anything bad about second.”
The Republic All-Area Gymnastics team:
Ashley Holliday, Columbus North: The senior won the state title on the vault and finished third in the all-around.
Claire Thompson, Columbus North: The junior won the state title on the beam, tied for third on the bars and finished second in the all-around.
Adi Minor, Columbus East: The junior won the state title on the bars, tied for third on the beam and finished seventh on the floor.
Seena Greiwe, Columbus East: The senior tied for sixth at state on the beam and finished 15th in the all-around.
Abby Lewis, Columbus East: The sophomore tied for sixth at state on the beam and finished 19th in the all-around.
Sami Heathcote, Columbus North: The freshman tied for ninth at state on the beam and finished 14th in the all-around.
Columbus East: Taylor Gaskill. Columbus North: Kaitlyn Calandro, Alayne Davis, Ashley Niebrugge.