MUNCIE — Columbus East put two individuals on the top-six medal podium Saturday at the State Gymnastics Championships while North realized its season-long goal of a top-four team finish.
North senior Chelsea Wieland captured the Mental Attitude Award as well.
Sophomore Emily Clancy had the Olympians’ best finish, tying for third on the vault with a personal-best 9.8.
“It was a really good vault,” Clancy said. “I was hoping I would do that well, but I was kind of surprised at the score.”
East senior Daran Brady placed sixth on the bars with a 9.4. Brady, who was injured last season and competed only on the bars at state, finished eighth in the all-around competition Saturday with a 36.825.
“I was kind of surprised because bars has always been my worst event, and for me to actually place at state on my worst event was really cool,” Brady said. “I didn’t do a very good routine last year, but I changed some stuff up this year.”
Both East and North had reason to celebrate.
“We met our goal,” North coach Sandy Freshour said. “We wanted to be in the top four. We were not able to medal last year, so it’s been our goal all year to be able to be on the podium.”
Top-ranked Portage edged Porter County rival Valparaiso 112.6-112.1 to win the title. Fort Wayne Dwenger finished third with a 110.975, followed by the Bull Dogs (109.875) and Olympians (107.66).
“(Fifth is) sort of where we’ve been ranked all year long,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “We didn’t have a good beam, we didn’t have a great floor, so to come out fifth, we’re pleased with that.”
The Olympians also had a top-10 finish from senior Molly Boggs, who tied for 10th on the floor (9.35).
Clancy took 27th in the all-around with a 34.85.
The Bull Dogs’ top finishes were a ninth on the floor from Wieland (9.4) and an 11th on the bars from Katrina May (9.25). May took 13th in the all-around with a 36.5, while Wieland was 19th (35.525) and Danielle McDermott 23rd (35.125).
“My beam was a little bit shaky today, and I had a fall,” May said. “We had a couple mistakes that cost us third place, but overall, it was a great meet.”
“There were moments during this season when, as the scores were falling, we thought we had a shot at (a team title), but we knew we would have to hit just flawlessly on every single event because of the scores that had been posted by the other teams,” Freshour said. “When Danielle got injured, the reality was that we were not going to be a contender for first or second unless somebody really had a miss. We thought we could still put it together with or without Danielle — better chances with her — to be on the podium.”
McDermott injured an ankle while warming up for the sectional and did not compete in that meet. She did only the bars in last week’s East Regional and added the other three events at state.
“We wanted to give her that opportunity,” Freshour said. “She had worked very, very hard for four years. She had earned this spot outright by posting just amazing scores. She was climbing so high in every event that I can only imagine what she had been able to do had she had these last two weeks of practice.
“She could have just packed her bags and said, ‘There’s no way. I’m not going to do this. I can’t take the pain.’ And instead, she did what she could. Her foot hurt today, and she still wanted to go out there and compete for her team.”