Bull Dogs, Olympians could be in contention for gymnastics title

Saturday’s IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals figures to be a four-team battle for first, and half of those four teams are from here in Columbus.

Fifth-ranked Columbus North (112.175) and third-ranked Columbus East (111.325) put up the state’s third- and fourth-best regional scores in finishing first and second in the Connersville Regional. Top-ranked Chesterton edged No. 2 Valparaiso 113.975 to 113.925 in the Valpo Regional.

“Any of the top four of us can (win) because you don’t know who’s going to fall,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “All it takes is one or two falls, and you’re out of the mix if everybody else hits. It’s going to be tight.”

That’s the way it was last year, when Valpo edged North by three-tenths of a point to keep the Bull Dogs from winning back-to-back titles. Valpo also won in 2014 and 2015 and has won a state-leading 12 titles overall. The Vikings have everyone back from last season.

Chesterton and North each have won three state titles. East’s lone championship came in 1990.

North co-coach Bob Arthur thinks the Bull Dogs can contend for the title Saturday.

“I’m not going to have any illusions that would happen easily,” Arthur said. “I think we’re very capable. It just gets back to our execution. If we can hit what we are capable of doing, then absolutely we could hang in there with those guys.”

Action gets underway at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ball State’s Worthen Arena. Opening ceremonies begin at 12:30 p.m.

East players compete

Columbus East seniors Britney Ballard and Addy Galarno participated in Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 60 Workout Sunday at Heritage Christian.

Ballard recorded a combined eight points, two rebounds and three assists in helping her team to a 3-0 record. Galarno notched three points, one rebound and two assists to help her team to a 2-1 record.

Ballard will play in the Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game April 8 at Bloomington North. Ballard, East senior Kristen Lyons and Columbus North senior Kenzie Patberg were named to the HBCA All-District team.

North vaulter takes 2nd

Columbus North’s Adrienne Salemme finished second in the pole vault at 9 feet, 6 inches, Friday to lead local competitors in the Hoosier State Relays indoor qualifier at University of Indianapolis.

Columbus East’s Elena Stoughton tied for fourth in the high jump at 5-0. North’s Jahna Smiley took sixth at 4-10.

On the boys side, East’s Zach Clark finished fourth in the shot put (50-1½), and Zarrien Johnson-Bey tied for fourth in the high jump (5-8) and took sixth in the long jump (19-1). Lance Greiwe tied for sixth in the 60 meters (7.40 seconds).

North’s Logan Abbott finished sixth in the shot (46-3½). Drew Thompson, Sam Horak, Charlie Allen and Zane Gruwell were sixth in the distance medley relay (11:50.19).

Girls All-Stars selected

Columbus North girls basketball coach Pat McKee, who is leading the Indiana All-Star girls this year, released the names of the 13 players he helped pick for the squad on Tuesday.

Pike had two players selected — Angel Baker and Michaela White. The others are Jenasae Bishop of East Chicago Central, Mackenzie Blazek of Whiteland, Leigha Brown of DeKalb, Nia Clark of Ben Davis, Amy Dilk of Carmel, Katlyn Gilbert of Heritage Christian, Cassidy Hardin of Center Grove, Emily Kiser of Noblesville, Anna Newman of Evansville North, Tomi Taiwo of Carmel, and Kayana Traylor of Martinsville.

“They’re talented kids,” McKee said. “I hope they come ready to work and are in shape and focused. They all have some really good qualities.”

The Indiana All-Stars will play the Indiana Junior All-Stars June 6 at a site to be announced. The senior All-Stars will play Kentucky June 8 in Kentucky and June 9 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Also, the Indiana Junior All-Stars will play the Kentucky Junior All-Stars on June 1 in Kentucky and June 2 in Indiana at sites to be announced. All of the events also will be girls-boys doubleheaders.

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