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Senior battles through fall, leads Bull Dogs gymnasts to victory

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It might have not been her best night, but for senior Megan Heathcote and her Columbus North gymnastics team, it was enough.

Heathcote finished second Wednesday in the all-around at 35.65 on Senior Night as the No. 8-ranked Bull Dogs got past Owen Valley 108.775-103.85.

“It definitely wasn’t my best meet individually,” Heathcote said. “I made some key mistakes out there. The balance beam was a low point for me, and I fell at times in certain points of my routine where I never have trouble.

“I kind of lost my focus from that point, but my teammates performed excellent out there.”

Although the seniors, such as KarleyAnne Curtin, who missed most of the season due to injury, were being honored, it was once again a freshman for the Bull Dogs who stole the show.

Freshman Ashley Holliday led the way for the Bull Dogs, finishing first in the all-around with a score of 36.9.

Junior Kaitlyn Barnes also had a great night with a third-place all-around finish at 34.8.

“I think we started out on a very strong note,” North coach Sandy Freshour said. “It was huge for us that we put up a great team score on the uneven bars. After that, we started to have a few slip-ups out there on the floor.

“It is not how we wanted to finish the season, but we are excited and are sitting in a good position for sectionals.”

Freshour was pleased with Barnes’ effort.

“I thought Kaitlyn had a fantastic evening tonight,” Freshour said. “She is such a workhorse out there and she has carried most of the weight with Katrina (May) recovering from an injury. It has worked out great for us and she will be such a great competitor for us in the all-around.

“We are hoping to have Katrina ready in time for sectionals.”

Junior Karen Smiar, who plans to graduate early, also was honored as part of the senior class.

All the Bull Dogs had to perform well because Owen Valley put up its best score of the season.

Holliday placed first in the vault with a 9.45, Heathcote placed second (9.125) and Barnes finished fourth (8.55).

In the uneven bars, Holliday finished first place with a 9.5, May finished second with 9.45 and Heathcote came in third place with a 9.1.

In the balance beam, there was a tie for first between Barnes and Graceson Arthur of Owen Valley with a 9.125. May finished fourth (8.85) and Holliday fifth (8.75).

On the floor exercise, Holliday placed first with a score of 9.2. Heathcote finished in second (8.95) and Barnes came in third (8.725).

“We will be working on getting some finishing touches down in our routines,” Freshour said. “We will not be throwing in any huge, big moves as we have already done that earlier this year. We want to retool some of our moves and remove some difficult parts of some routines and polish everything so we can maintain consistency at sectionals.”

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