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Brady leads as Olympians win own invitational

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On Senior Day, Daran Brady was on Cloud 9.

In Saturday’s Olympian Classic, the Columbus East senior gymnast scored 9.4 on her first two events, bars and beam, for first place. She then placed second on floor with 9.3 and won vault with 9.7. Her all-around score of 37.8 also garnered a first-place ribbon.

The Olympians won their own invitational with 108.3 points, while New Palestine was second out of eight teams with 106.95, and Seymour wound up third with 102.95.

“Normally, to get in the 37-38 range, you need to get a 9 on every event,” Brady said. “I felt really good.”

Of starting out with 9.4s, Brady said, “Those scores are lower than what I usually get, but I’m OK with them. I didn’t stick my landing on bars like I was supposed to. It was still a really good way to start the meet out.”

Brady was very happy with her performance on vault.

“That was my best score that I’ve ever done,” she said. “I just went really high and stuck my landing. My vault is worth a 9.8. I don’t have a 10.0 start value, and I only got one-tenth taken off, so it was pretty good.”

At Friday’s sectional, which also is at East, Brady’s goal is to set the school record in all-around. To do that, she’ll have to score higher than 38.45.

“Last week, I got a 38.05, so it’s pretty close,” she said. “I’m looking to get in the 38s and win.”

The season has been good so far for Brady, and she hopes it lasts for a few more weeks.

“At the beginning of the year, I was worried because I had surgery on my foot last year, and I was worried that that would stop me from doing my best,” Brady said. “But I’ve done better than I’ve ever done in my life, so it’s pretty amazing.”

The Olympians’ started on bars and ended on vault, increasing their scores as the day went along and finishing with a season-high team score.

“I’m real pleased to end the season this way going into sectional. That’s what we want to do,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “We put some new things in, still had a few mistakes but not big mistakes, so I was real pleased. Everybody did a nice job, came out ready to compete today.”

Emily Clancy scored 9.575 on vault for a 1-2 East finish. Clancy placed fifth all-around with 35.8. The team’s other senior, Molly Boggs, was sixth with 34.7.

“Vault was our strongest event with Daran going 9.7 and Emily going 9.5. Those are two pretty big scores,” Kirshman said. “Daran had a real good day. Molly had a nice day for herself. Both are seniors, and it this is their senior day, so it’s nice.”

Seymour’s top performer was senior Kelly Deppen. She placed second on bars (9.4), third on vault (9.35) and floor (9.25) and fourth on beam (9.025) for a second-place all-around finish (37.025). Alyssa Goen, a freshman, scored 9.05s on vault (fifth) and floor (eighth).

The Owls’ best event was vault, posting 26.75. Their next-best score was 26.675 on floor.

“Vault’s been our strongest all season for the most part,” Seymour coach Angie Mellencamp said. “The girls are pretty comfortable. They’ve got their landings solid now, and I don’t question vault anymore heading into a meet. Floor was better today for a lot of the girls. We are still putting in some new passes, and we still have more to fit in hopefully come Friday.”

After the meet, Kirshman was presented a plaque, recognizing her 40th year of coaching gymnastics at East.

“I can truly remember my first year,” she said. “Walking in, I’m not a gymnast, I was a swimmer. So it was an odd sort of thing. You just took the job because you wanted to teach PE, and they asked if I could coach gymnastics, and I said I would until somebody else came along.”

Well, no one else came along, and she has been at the helm ever since.

So is she ready for 40 more years?

“We’re running out of steam,” she said, laughing. “It’s been fun. I’ve had lots of memories, and there are lots of people to see here today that are back, and it’s fun to see them. They are all scattered so many places now, but all of them know where somebody else is, so that’s pretty neat.”

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