East, North gymnasts to battle for regional title

The Columbus East gymnasts are coming off their first sectional title since 2001. Now, they’ll try to win their first regional since 2013.

The third-ranked Olympians and fifth-ranked Columbus North have by far the top two team scores going into Saturday’s Connersville Regional. The top three teams in the regional qualify for the March 10 state finals at Ball State.

“I’d say we’re peaking at the right time,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “We have everybody healthy and ready to go. We’ve had a great season. We’ve accomplished all of our goals so far.”

The Olympians scored a 112.35 in Friday’s East Sectional. That was just short of their season-high 112.5.

East senior Adi Minor won the vault, bars, floor and finished second on the beam in winning the all-around title. Junior Taylor Gaskill and freshman Taylen Lane were third and fifth in the all-around.

“We hope to perform as well as at the sectional, maybe even better,” Kirshman said. “We have to clean up a couple things, and we’ll have a good day.”

The Bull Dogs finished second in the sectional with a 109.775. Senior Claire Thompson won the beam and finished second on the vault, bars and all-around; while sophomore Sami Heathcote was fourth in the all-around.

Seymour, which scored a 104.375, is the third team that qualified from the East Sectional. Richmond (102.425), Connersville (100.975) and New Castle (100.075) advanced from the Connersville Sectional.

Those six teams will battle for the three state-qualifying spots beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Spartan Bowl in Connersville.

“There’s no guarantee,” North co-coach Bob Arthur said. “Barring any kind of an injury or anything, we should be in the top two teams. But it’s another battle, and if we can manage to get our third and fourth scores where they need to be, I think we’re going to be able to hold our own with East on all the events.”

Seniors earn academic honors

All five seniors from Columbus North, and all three seniors from Columbus East have been named to this year’s Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Academic All-State girls basketball first team or honorable mention.

North’s Kelsey Patberg was the lone first-team selection from Columbus. She is joined on the first team by Hauser’s Grace Hasler.

East’s Britney Ballard, Addy Galarno and Kristen Lyons and North’s Jenna Borger, Kat Norman, Kenzie Patberg and Liz Tynan all made honorable mention. Hauser’s Sarah Tedder and Jennings County’s Alexus Brown and Macy Roth also made honorable mention.

Meanwhile, North’s Claire Thompson is an honorable mention selection on the ICGSA Academic All-State gymnastics team.

Locals named All-State

Five area girls basketball players have been selected to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Senior All-State honorable mention team.

Ballard, Galarno, Lyons and Borger are joined by Trinity Lutheran’s Abby Hackman on the senior honorable mention list. Trinity freshman Sydney Jaynes made Underclass All-State honorable mention.

Meanwhile, Ballard, Galarno, Lyons and Borger also have been named to the Hoosier Basketball Magazine Top 100 senior girls. Galarno has been selected to participate in the Top 60 Workout, which will be Sunday afternoon at Heritage Christian High School.

Senior named North MVP

Borger, who set a single-season school record with 93 percent free-throw shooting, was named MVP of the Columbus North girls basketball team.

Kenzie Patberg won the Bull Dog Award. Kelsey Patberg and freshman Alexa McKinley were co-recipients of the Most Improved Award, and Norman and Tynan shared the Spirit Award.

Freshman Kanon Matsuno won the Martha Kalb Award, which goes to a junior varsity player who displays characteristics of determination, teamwork, persistence and heart.

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