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East sophomore vaults up charts

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EMILY Clancy has always taken a liking to the vault, but her fondness for the event grew even greater after last week’s Columbus East Regional.

The East sophomore successfully landed her “front-front” vault to score a 9.675 and win the event. The score helped the Olympians win their first regional team title since 2001.

Clancy and her teammates will compete in today’s Gymnastics State Finals at Ball State. Her vault score tied for second-best in the state among the four regionals.

“I was hoping I would do really well, but I didn’t know if I would win or not because my vault is kind of iffy sometimes,” Clancy said. “I don’t stick it all the time. I had landed it before, but I had never stuck it like that.”

Clancy’s vault consists of a front handspring onto the horse, then a front tuck before a blind landing. She worked on it last summer and landed it prior to the start of this season.

East coach Nancy Kirshman said Clancy is one of only three high school gymnasts in the state doing that particular vault, which has a 10.0 start value.

“She is capable of turning that vault over and sticking it and not moving at all,” Kirshman said. “She’s done that a couple times in warmups, and last week, she was pretty close to that. When you have a 10.0 start value, you can make a small mistake and still land on top.”

Clancy began doing gymnastics as an 11-month-old toddler in North Vernon. She moved with her family to Tennessee for a year before moving back to Columbus at age 7.

While she was living in North Vernon and her first few years in Columbus, Clancy trained at Madison Gymnastics World. She then went to Jody’s Gymnastics Zone for a couple years before joining the East squad.

“Emily has great talent,” Kirshman said. “She struggles with a portion of what we call flexibility in gymnastics. She’s very tight everywhere — tight in the legs, tight in the back, tight in the shoulders — and you can get away with that in maybe one area in gymnastics, but when you have all three of them, it really hurts you because gymnastics is all about shapes.

“She’s done a good job,” she said. “She’s upgraded her difficulty in areas. She has a ways to go. She can develop into an outstanding gymnast if she so chooses, but she always going to fight that flexibility area for herself.”

Clancy remembers attending last year’s state meet to watch teammate Daran Brady compete on the bars. This year, the Olympians qualified as a team for the first time since 2010.

“It’s really exciting,” Clancy said. “We peaked at the right time, so now that we’re going to state, we’re at our best. We had wanted it all season, and now it’s finally happening. We want to place up at the top, and I think we have a pretty good chance considering the skills that we have.”

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