The Columbus North gymnasts appear to be peaking at the right time.
The Bull Dogs scored a season-best 113.4 Friday in winning the Columbus East Sectional. North had 15-of-16 clean routines and did not have to take any half-point deductions for falls for the first time this season.
“I’ve noticed for the past three or four weeks, we’ve started to come together at the right time,” North co-coach Bob Arthur said. “The sectional meet, we had no big misses. Even though we didn’t have any major things, we do have some minor deals that we could tighten up on. Hopefully, we can push on toward that 114 level.
The second-ranked Bull Dogs’ 113.4 was the highest sectional score in the state. Top-ranked Valparaiso won the Chesterton Sectional with a 113.25.
“Until you are all seen by the same set of judges, it’s a little difficult,” Arthur said. “It’s a little like the old war films when you have two submarines that have never seen each other, and you know the other one’s powerful, but you don’t know how powerful until you see them face to face.”
That won’t happen until the Feb. 21 state finals — provided the teams get through their respective regionals. North will be the favorite in Friday’s East Regional, where the top three teams qualify for state.
The host Olympians are hoping to be one of those three teams. They finished third in their own sectional after losing standout freshman Adi Minor to a broken leg in the final regular season meet.
“We made it through without Adi,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “Our girls stepped up in everything, and we hope the same thing will happen Friday. It’s not how we anticipated it ending, but the objective was to get to the state meet, and it’s still our objective to get there and do the best we can once we get there.”
The Olympians’ 108.275 in the sectional is the third-best of the six teams entered in Friday’s regional. North, Owen Valley (110.375) and East are followed by the three teams to come out of the Connersville Sectional — New Palestine (106.5), Connersville (101.2) and New Castle (99.7).
Seniors picked for Classic
Columbus North offensive lineman Ezra Followell and Columbus East defensive lineman Connor Roberts have been selected to play in this year’s North-South All-Star Classic.
Followell and Roberts will play for the South squad, which will play the North on July 17 at North Central High School in Indianapolis. Trinity Lutheran coach Anthony Levy will be one of the assistant coaches for the South.
More honors for Patberg
Ali Patberg, who led Columbus North to the Class 4A state title Saturday night, has been named the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association District 3 Girls Player of the Week for the second consecutive week.
Patberg led the Bull Dogs with 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists in a 62-56 victory against Homestead. Her 31 points tied the Class 4A championship game record.
Patberg, who won the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award following the game, finished with school records of 751 points for the season and 2,026 for her career. She also recorded her school-record 273rd career steal on Saturday.
Athletes share MVP honors
Freshman Michael Brinegar, who won a state title in the 500-yard freestyle, highlights the Columbus North swimming MVP award winners from Tuesday night’s banquet.
Brinegar shared the boys MVP honor with sophomore diver Kaemon Jiles. Sophomore Grace Haskett and senior Marah Bieger shared the girls MVP award.
Freshman Thomas Goble and sophomore Alex Nusawardhana won the boys and girls most improved awards. Juniors Jared Imlay and Ben Thompson shared the boys Bull Frog Award, while senior Karen Wildemann took the girls Bull Frog Award.
Panther runners win events
Four Jennings County athletes won individual events in Saturday’s Bloomington North Indoor Track and Field Invitational.
Wes Furgason won the boys high jump with a leap of 6 feet, and Aaron Smiley took the 60-meter hurdles in 9.26 seconds. For the girls, Keri Ertel won the 60 hurdles in 9.29, and Justine Corya captured the 60 in 8.24.
Ertel also finished second in the girls 400 (1:01.44), and Corya took second in the girls 200 (29.05). Zach Miller was second in the boys long jump (20-2¼).
East lacrosse to host auctions
The Columbus East Lacrosse inaugural quarter auction and silent auction will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds Community Building. Doors open at noon.
Cost is $5 per paddle, with more than 15 vendors on site. Refreshments will be sold. Funds raised from the auction will be used to support lacrosse student scholarships and team equipment.