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Short-handed Olympians post season-best score in triumph

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With two girls home sick Wednesday night, the remaining Columbus East gymnasts realized they needed to pick up their games to compete with a solid Connersville squad.

The seventh-ranked Olympians weren’t fazed. They put together their highest team score of the season in a 106.65-104.4 victory.

“I’m really pleased with how the team pulled together tonight because we had a couple people home sick, and I’m really glad we didn’t let that affect our focus tonight,” said senior Daran Brady, who won the all-around competition with a 37.40.

Brady was only five-hundreths of a point off her season best and would have shattered that had it not been for a fall on the beam. She still won the beam with a 9.15, along with the bars (9.4) and floor (9.55).

Sophomore Emily Clancy successfully executed her front-front vault for the first time and edged Brady 9.4-9.3 to win that event.

“This is the first time I’ve landed it, so it’s really exciting,” said Clancy, who finished fourth in the all-around with a 34.75.

Jaycie Jaggers took second on the bars with an 8.85. Michelle Wesolowski tied for fourth in the vault with an 8.6.

East was missing Molly Boggs and Kaylee Barger, who were ill.

“We have a really good team, so I thought we were able to keep it together well,” Clancy said.

“We did better things tonight,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “Some things were better. But there are still some things that are the same mistake we have made time and time again, and you just can’t do it.”

The Olympians opened the meet with a 27.3 on the vault, followed by a 27.05 on the bars, a 25.6 on the beam and a 26.7 on the floor.

“We started out well on vault,” Kirshman said. “We did a decent job on bars. We still shot ourselves in the foot a couple times here (on the floor) and a couple times on beam.

“This (beam) is a huge event,” she added. “This is going to make or break where you finish up at the end, so you have to concentrate. Beam is the cut-throat event. It’s like free throws in basketball.”

East was coming off a second-place finish in Saturday’s Merrillville Invitational with a 105.875, which had been its best score of the season until Wednesday.

“We’re pleased,” Kirshman said. “We finally broke away from that 105 score, and once you get over that hump one time, now we hope they can move on to something else. We’re looking better each time, but we want to get everybody back and hopefully, we don’t get hit with any more flu bugs.”

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