MUNCIE — The final week of Claire Thompson’s gymnastics career began with a trip to the hospital.
It ended with her winning the IHSAA’s Mildred M. Ball Mental Attitude Award.
Thompson became the third consecutive Columbus North girl to win the award, following Katrina May in 2016 and Ashley Holliday last season.
“That was an awesome way to go out,” Thompson said. “Watching them win it was so amazing because they both deserved it so much.”
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Although she didn’t win a title this year, Thompson finished her career with five gold medals. She won the bars, beam and all-around as a sophomore in leading the Bull Dogs to the team championship. She defended her beam title last year.
Thompson, who finished second in the all-around last year, and tied with Columbus East’s Adi Minor for second in this year’s all-around, has been a varsity cheerleader the past three years. She also is North’s 2018 Wendy’s High School Heisman School Award winner.
In addition to her achievements in gymnastics, Thompson volunteers much of her time with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Feed My Starving Children, Advocates for Children and many other organizations.
“Honestly, I did not think I was going to win it,” Thompson said. “I knew about the award, but that’s not was what I was thinking about at all. It was a nice surprise and a great way to end my gymnastics career.”
Thompson received a scare Monday when she began feeling pain and went to the hospital. She missed practice Monday and Tuesday and did a limited practice Wednesday.
She originally thought she might be having trouble with her appendix, but she said doctors think she had ruptured an ovarian cyst.
“I’m still having pain every once in awhile,” Thompson said. “I had it a few times today. We’re hoping it’s not my appendix.”
North co-coaches Bob Arthur and Sandy Freshour were thrilled that Thompson was chosen to carry on the streak of the school’s Mental Attitude Award winners.
“She was mentored by Katrina and company, and then she and Ashley worked so hard last year to get us back he and be runner-up,” Freshour said. “This year, she has just done such a fantastic job mentoring the younger kids and keeping them all together and inspiring and encouraging them all the while she’s putting up best efforts, too. She’s well deserving of that honor.”