Being able to remain injury-free for an entire gymnastics season was a big enough hurdle to clear for Adi Minor.
Winning a pair of state titles and finishing second in the all-around competition was a pleasant bonus.
The Columbus East senior put together her biggest postseason this year and caps her career with The Republic Gymnast of the Year honor.
“I was just happy to be completely healthy and to be able to compete all four events, and to be able to go to the state meet and compete all-around. I was just thanking God for my health this year because I was so worried with my injury last year. Overall, I couldn’t be more happy with it because I was injury free, and my season was the best one so far.”
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Minor was among the state’s top gymnasts throughout her freshman and junior years, but late-season injuries hampered her postseason aspirations. She broke her leg while doing her floor routine in the final meet her freshman year and severely sprained an ankle warming up on the vault for the regular-season finale as a junior.
Even with the ankle injury, Minor was able to compete on the bars in last year’s sectional and regional and on the bars, beam and floor at the state meet. She tied for the state title on the bars and shared last year’s The Republic Gymnast of the Year honors with fellow state champions Ashley Holliday and Claire Thompson of Columbus North.
“Anybody else who had sprained their ankle as bad as she had probably wouldn’t have competed,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “To get up on the podium was a credit to her perseverance.”
Minor did have a healthy sophomore season, but her first state finals performance was one she might rather forget.
Although she finished fifth on the vault and tied for sixth in the all-around that year, she fell short of her expectations. A fall on the beam took her out of the running for the all-around title.
“I had a few bumps here and there, and I was a young gymnast then, so I didn’t have the right mindset with the whole thing, and I just kind of gave up after I thought that I wasn’t going to win the all-around,” Minor said. “I didn’t even think about individual event.”
This year, the Olympians had the same rotation at state as they did Minor’s sophomore year. They started on the bars, and Minor’s 9.675 score held up throughout the competition.
Like her sophomore year, a fall on the beam took Minor out of the all-around battle. But she bounced back to finish fourth on the floor with a 7.65 and then won the vault with a 9.725.
“This year, even after beam, I had to regroup myself and remind myself what happened sophomore year, and that I still had two more events, and I had to give it my all because it was my last meet forever,” Minor said. “I think that’s what I’ve improved most on — not my gymnastics, but my mental game and having to keep my head in. Mentally, I was just a lot stronger this year.”
Minor’s 38.15 all-around score tied with Thompson, her good friend and former club teammate, for second place. Chesterton’s Sophia Hunzelman defended her all-around title with a 38.425.
Kirshman said while she knows Minor wanted the all-around title, when she looks back, it was an outstanding season for the team and for herself.
“In many people’s minds, she was the complete gymnast up there (at state), the cream of the crop,” Kirshman said. “She truly has been a four-year phenomenal gymnast. Had she been healthy, she could have contended everywhere all four years.”
Minor won the three of the four individual events and all-around in leading East to the team title at the East Sectional. She also won three individual events and the all-around in the Connersville Regional, where the Olympians finished second behind North as a team. East finished third as a team at state.
Kirshman said Minor was probably in the best shape of her high school career this season.
“She truly did an outstanding job as a captain,” Kirshman said. “She was there for everybody. It meant a lot to her that we were sectional champion and regional runner-up.”
Minor holds every school record except on the vault. She scored 9.9s this season on both the bars and beam. She had a 9.8 on the floor last year and this year and a 39.2 in all-around last season.
The Olympians’ 112.5 team score in its regular-season win against Bloomington South also is a school record.
“She has worked for every one of those school records really hard and deserves every one of those,” Kirshman said. “The talent was already there, and she just had to mature.”
Kirshman, who has coached at East for 45 years, put Minor alongside 2001 state all-around champion Nikki Howe as the best gymnasts ever to come through East.
“Nikki Howe was right with Adi in that she was strong in all four events,” Kirshman said. “It’s hard to compare them. (Minor) truly is one of the best gymnasts we’ve ever had at East.”
Minor plans to attend DePauw and study kinesiology, and Tigers track coach Kori Stoffregen has offered her a spot on team as a sprinter or pole vaulter. After injuries kept her from competing in track the past three years, Minor is participating for the Olympians this season.
Her gymnastics career, however, has come to a close.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Minor said. “I’m a little burned out on it, and while I’m going to miss it a lot, it’s a good ending, and that era of my life is over. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Adi Minor, Columbus East: The senior won state titles on the vault and bars, finished fourth on the floor and tied for second in the all-around.
Taylor Gaskill, Columbus East: The junior finished 10th on the vault, 18th on the floor and 22nd in the all-around at state.
Abby Lewis, Columbus East: The junior tied for eighth on the beam and finished 21st in the all-around at state.
Claire Thompson, Columbus North: The senior tied for third on the beam, finished fourth on the vault and tied for sixth on the bars and second in the all-around at state.
Sami Heathcote, Columbus North: The sophomore tied for 12th on the floor and finished 13th on the vault, 14th on the bars and 10th in the all-around at state.
Columbus East: Taylen Lane. Columbus North: Emma Cooper, Alayne Davis, Tova Edwards, Ashley Niebrugge.