BLOOMINGTON — Columbus North started strong and finished strong in dominating the Conference Indiana gymnastics meet conducted Saturday at Bloomington South.
The Bull Dogs proved to be clearly the class of the conference in earning an impressive 108.95 score. Franklin Central was a distant second with 101.55.
For North, the championship was especially sweet after last year’s collapse in the final event. With only the beam remaining to be contested last season, the Bull Dogs had a significant lead.
“We imploded,” said North coach Sandy Freshour, whose team fell from first to third.
Again this year, North started strong, but this time the Bull Dogs led all the way to the finish.
Danielle McDermott set the tone by capturing first place on the uneven bars with a 9.225. The senior was followed closely by freshman Katrina May (9.175). Junior Megan Heathcote was fifth (8.225) as North had a team score of 26.625.
“We were decent on the bars,” Freshour said. “It takes so much strength and there is so little room for recovery. To compete at the state level, we will need at least a 27.”
With McDermott, Heathcote and May finishing first, second and fourth, respectively in the vault, the Bull Dogs continued to build their lead. But the event was potentially damaging to North’s quest for the top as Chelsea Wieland landed short on her second vault and injured both ankles.
“We redesigned her routines for both the beam and floor to make it a bit better for her,” Freshour said. “She was a trooper.”
Wieland responded to the “redesigns” by finishing second in both remaining events.
McDermottt won the balance beam and May did the same in floor exercise.
With a fourth on the balance beam, May won the all-around. McDermott was second and Wieland fifth for the Bull Dogs who displayed confidence and poise in abundance.
“The judges were a little tight on scoring today, but we expected that,” Freshour said. “We were anxious to see where we were with these judges.”
With the start of the state tournament less than three weeks away, Indiana’s fourth-ranked team has its sights set on even better performances.
“We have kids competing for the first time, and we are certainly doing all right,” Freshour said.
“We are trying to peak at the right time. We are still putting in skills. It’s really good knowing we are continuing to do good things in places. But we have yet to put all the pieces together.”