The Columbus North gymnasts put up their season-best score of 109.9 in finishing third in Saturday’s state finals, but the Bull Dogs were left wondering about what might have been.
Three falls might have kept the Bull Dogs from a second-place finish. Throw in a couple of fractions of points that were lost, and North might even have captured the championship.
“It was nice to know that we still could get third with all the falls we had today,” said sophomore Katrina May, who led North with a tie for ninth in the all-around competition with a 36.975.
“Our performance as a team definitely could have been better, but we still had a decent meet, and we’re happy to have placed third,” said senior Megan Heathcote, who finished 17th in the all-around with a 35.95.
Top-ranked Valparaiso won its record 10th team title with a 111.95. No. 2 Fort Wayne Dwenger finished second with a 111.225, while Columbus East took eighth with a 102.3
“We knew coming in that we weren’t quite as deep as the other two teams (Valpo and Dwenger) were, but if we hit, we had a shot,” North coach Sandy Freshour said. “We came close, but not quite. Third place is an awesome finish, and we did improve on last year.”
In addition to the medals the Bull Dogs won for finishing third as a team, three individuals won medals for placing in the top six of an event. Freshman Ashley Holliday took second on the bars (9.575) and fifth on the vault (9.6).
“I’m happy with how I did on those two events,” Holliday said. “Beam definitely could have been better, but there’s always next year.”
Two falls on the beam, where she scored an 8.1, cost Holliday an all-around medal. She finished 15th in the all-around with a 36.225.
May, who competed in the all-around in last week’s regional for the first time since severely spraining an ankle in mid-January, finished sixth on the beam with a 9.3.
“It was awesome,” May said. “Coming back from an injury and coming to the state meet and placing in something was an awesome accomplishment.”
Heathcote tied for sixth on the floor with a 9.45.
“I was excited,” Heathcote said. “I thought my floor routine was pretty solid, but I wasn’t expecting to place because there are a ton of good floor routines here.”
North’s fourth competitor, junior Kaitlyn Barnes, had the team’s second-best score on the beam (8.85) and finished 23rd in the all-around with a 34.7.
“The competition was totally, totally stellar,” Freshour said. “I think that all of them saw a lot of things that you see so much more at the state meet when you’re in the midst of all this competition than you get to see in your dual meets and your smaller meets. It gives you some ideas and inspiration. There’s nothing to be ashamed of with this kind of competition to have third-place medals.”
East suffered from two falls on both the bars and beam.
“No excuses, we didn’t perform well,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “It’s been a long day. We’ve been here since 8:15 this morning and didn’t compete until 1. That sort of takes a lot of continuity out of your routines, but everybody had to do it.”
Freshman Becca Bryan had the Olympians’ best all-around finish, taking 14th with a 36.425. She took 13th on the bars with a 9.325.
“As an individual, I think I could have done a lot better,” Bryan said. “I am proud of myself as a freshman going to state. It’s been exciting and a great experience. As a team, we have some stuff to work on, but we did well, I think.”
East freshman Seena Greiwe finished 30th in the all-around with a 33.475. Junior Jaycie Jaggers was 34th with a 32.225.
“Becca was OK today,” Kirshman said. “She had a nice showing for a freshman. Seena had a nice day today. Her scores didn’t quite reflect what I think they should have been. Kaylee Barger as a senior did a nice (bars) routine. Samantha Rose as a senior didn’t have her best day, but she had a chance to be in the state finals.”
The Olympians had scored a 106.0 in finishing second in the East Regional.
“We’re glad to be here, but that’s not obviously where we wanted to finish,” Kirshman said. “We’re four points off, but it’s a different set of judges. You learn from your mistakes, and you go on. You just move forward next year and realize you have to do better.”