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Gymnasts bound for regional

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Once Columbus North junior Tristan Gregg finished her floor exercise routine from Friday Night’s sectional, her team erupted in cheers.

But when junior Kaitlyn Barnes, senior Megan Heathcote and freshman Ashley Holliday finished their routines, the cheers turned into roars.

That sound was heard for much of the day for the Columbus North gymnastics team, as they claimed the sectional championship with 109.750 points.

“It’s pretty amazing when you get scores like we did,” North coach Sandy Freshour said. “We were excited the whole meet, because we were putting up some of our top scores for the season, and that’s hard to do this late.”

Holliday led the charge for the Bull Dogs by taking the all-around title with 36.925, also taking first on the vault (9.300), bars (9.325) and the beam (9.350). Heathcote finished first on the floor (9.500).

Freshour praised Holliday’s performance and said she is only getting better.

“She is crazy good; what else can you say about that?” Freshour said.

“Her skill level and technique is remarkable,” she said. “I can’t take all the credit because she has been with some great coaches. She is always focused and knows what she needs to do to win.”

Sophomore Katrina May, who had been recovering from an ankle injury from earlier this season, put up some of her top performances, including a second-place finish on the bars (9.250) as well as vault (9.250) and the beam (9.250).

“If you would’ve asked me Thursday if she would’ve gone on the vault, I would’ve easily said no,” Freshour said. “She did real well in warm ups, and once she landed her routine, it was almost like she never had the injury.”

Columbus East took third in the team race, also advancing to next week’s regional. Freshman Becca Bryan finished second in the all-around (36.525), while junior Jaycie Jaggers finished sixth (34.625).

“We didn’t have a stellar performance,” Kirshman said. “We had some uncharacteristic falls, but we know that we moved on. We got this out of the way, and we can focus on regional this week.”

Kirshman said Bryan and Jaggers’ performances kept the team motivated.

“If we didn’t get third, our only two moving on would’ve been Becca and Jaycie,” Kirshman said. “Jaycie had a fantastic performance and has improved tremendously this past month. Becca has been our top performer all season, and all of her routines were clean.”

Both Freshour and Kirshman said that there was still a lot of work to be done before regional.

“Our goal is to return to state,” Freshour said. “It has been our goal all season long. We have checked off a good chunk of goals this year but we still have some big ones left.”

“Some of the girls are beat up from this season,” Kirshman said. “They are sore, but we still need to stay true to our form, and stick to our game plan and refuel for regional.”

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