Columbus North gave crosstown rival Columbus East an opening Friday night, and the Olympians seized the opportunity.
Fifth-ranked East took advantage of a couple of falls on beam by the Bull Dogs to capture its first regional title since 2001 with a 108.0. Co-No. 3 North finished second with a 107.325 and will join the Olympians at next week’s state finals at Ball State.
“It feels amazing,” said East senior and all-around champion Daran Brady. “I’ve never felt a better feeling in my entire life. We knew it was going to be close. We didn’t know we were going to win. It was neck and neck throughout the entire competition, so we were really happy to pull it out at the end.”
After the original scores were posted, the Olympians beat the Bull Dogs by only .175-point. North, which had earlier made an inquiry about a floor score that resulted in a .2-point addition, made another inquiry about a bars score but was given a half-point deduction because only one free inquiry is allowed in high school gymnastics.
“It wasn’t going to hurt our placing, and it had the potential to give us the meet, so it was a win-win situation,” North coach Sandy Freshour said.
No. 20 Connersville finished third with a 105.55. Seymour was fourth with a 101.85.
Brady won the bars (9.35) and floor (9.7) on her way to a 37.4 in the all-around.
“I think the key was confidence,” Brady said. “We had a lot more confidence tonight coming in than we’ve ever had at any other meet. We were kind of worried about how our team has been doing, but I think tonight just reassured us that we can do it.”
Emily Clancy won the vault with a 9.675 for the Olympians. Molly Boggs finished third on the floor with a 9.45.
“Daran had a better night tonight, except for balance beam,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “We have to conquer that somehow. Molly had a good night after she sort of hyperextended an elbow on beam. Emily Clancy has a stress fracture in her back, but it’s the end of the season, and everybody is butchered at this point in time.”
Katrina May led North with a fourth-place all-around finish (36.325). May took second on the bars (9.3), and Chelsea Wieland was second on the floor (9.525).
Senior Danielle McDermott, who sprained an ankle while warming up for last week’s East Sectional and did not compete in that meet, did only the bars Friday. She tied for ninth with an 8.85.
“They’ve made their goal,” Freshour said. “Their goal was to return to state. Their goal was to win sectional, and we did. We won conference. We were short on this meet, but when you’re short-handed with your senior all-around gymnast, it’s OK. I’m not going to take anything away from East. They had a great meet. You want good competition, and they gave us good competition.”
Seymour saw its season come to an end. Senior Kelly Deppen, who finished fourth at state in the all-around last season, took 10th Friday in the all-around with a 35.35.
East, meanwhile, will make its first trip to the state finals since 2009.
“We faltered a little last week,” Kirshman said. “This group of girls has just really, really worked and made it a goal. The goal of theirs was to get to state, and I’m so proud of them for getting there, but to come through and win this regional, it’s outstanding.
“All those meets are practice all the way through. This is the time when you want to shine. This is the time when you want to win.”
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