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North gymnastics team reloads for new season

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Columbus North lost two of its top three gymnasts from a team that placed fourth at state last year, but the Bull Dogs could pick up right where they left off.

Helping North’s cause is the addition of a pair of club gymnasts. With three other girls back who competed in last year’s postseason, the Bull Dogs are primed for another podium finish.

“That’s the goal,” North coach Sandy Freshour said. “They’re determined to try.”

Sophomore Katrina May was the Bull Dogs’ top all-around gymnast at the end of last season. May finished 11th on the bars and 13th in the all-around competition at the state finals.

May is among North’s top 10 all-time on the vault (9.5), bars (9.45) and all-around (37.075). Another state team returner, senior Megan Heathcote, is ninth all-time on the beam (9.225). Junior Kaitlyn Barnes also competed in the postseason last year.

“They have a lot of good experience,” Freshour said. “They’re very talented, and they’ve been working hard in the offseason.”

The Bull Dogs have added two veteran club gymnasts in junior Lauren Steigerwalt and freshman Ashley Holliday.

“They’ll bring experience compatible to what we lost,” Freshour said. “Everybody is unique and has their own unique strengths, but they’re definitely experienced gymnasts.”

“We gained Ashley Holliday from club gymnastics, and we have some other new people that will hopefully be contributors,” Heathcote said.

Juniors Tristan Gregg and Karen Smiar and senior Karley Ann Curtin also saw some varsity action last season. They’ll challenge for spots in the rotation along with a couple of newcomers.

“We have some new kids that won’t start out with varsity competition, but we have a good group,” Freshour said.

May said practice has been going well for North, which doesn’t open the season until Jan. 13 at Bloomington North.

“We made a lot of progress; and over the summer, we had good practices, and I think we’ll be ready on time,” May said.

The Bull Dogs won the Columbus East Sectional title and finished second behind the host Olympians in the regional last season before taking fourth at state.

“Top three at state is our big goal for the season, and sectional and regional titles,” May said.

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