Daran Brady has been to the gymnastics state finals as an individual the past two years.
This year, she hopes to be there with the entire Columbus East team.
The Olympians missed by two spots last year after finishing fourth in the East Regional. With all but one gymnast back from that squad, they hope to finish in the top two at regional and make it back to state for the first time since Brady’s freshman year.
“It would mean so much,” Brady said. “It’s a completely different environment of competing when you’re competing by yourself versus competing with your team.”
Brady finished ninth in the all-around competition at state as a freshman to lead the Olympians to a sixth-place team finish. She took 10th in the all-around as a sophomore, then tied for 16th on the bars last year after a sprained ankle in the final meet of the regular season knocked her out of the other three events for the sectional.
East features another quality senior in Molly Boggs, who will join Brady in leading this year’s squad.
“I’m really excited about this year,” Boggs said. “We’re going to start out a little bit rough getting into it, but toward the end of the year, we’re going to be really strong hopefully. Our goal as a team is to make it to state.”
Sophomores Emily Clancy and Jaycie Jaggers were all-around varsity performers last season, and sophomore Michelle Wesolowski and junior Kaylee Barger also competed in the postseason.
They are joined by junior Samantha Rose, sophomore Olivia Frownfelter and freshman Kaylee McFall.
“Our team all works all four events,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “Everybody doesn’t specialize. That builds depth on your team, and if you have an injury, you have somebody to step up and step in to that category.
“We have all the pieces to the puzzle if they can all stay solid all the way through to the end,” she said. “We have two outstanding seniors and a couple good juniors and some freshmen and sophomores, and they’re all going to put it together, so we have real high hopes. They worked real hard over the summer and are working extremely hard at this point in time just to get started in their season.”
The Olympians open the season at 10 a.m. Friday at home against Seymour. It’s a season East hopes will end March 16 at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.
“We have high hopes, and we’re working hard toward that goal,” Kirshman said.