Bull Dogs, Olympians looking for state titles

If things break right for Columbus schools in Saturday’s gymnastics state finals at Ball State’s Worthen Arena, the city could have a team state champion and an individual all-around state champion.

Columbus North is ranked No. 2 in the state as a team and has been on Valparaiso’s heels all season. The Bull Dogs’ winning regional score of 112.6 Saturday at Columbus East was second behind top-ranked Valpo’s 113.825 regional total.

Meanwhile, East sophomore Adi Minor had the state’s best all-around score, a 38.725 in winning the regional, and will look to become the Olympians’ first all-around champion since Nikki Howe in 2001. Minor broke Howe’s school all-around record Saturday.

“She’s a very talented young gymnast, and she’s peaking at the right time,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “She’s been doing that the past several meets.”

While Howe has the state’s best all-around score this year, North senior Katrina May, junior Ashley Holliday and sophomore Claire Thompson are all ranked in the top 10. Holliday is the defending state champion on the bars, while Thompson finished second on the beam last season.

North co-coach Sandy Freshour said that while the Bull Dogs had some routines that were close to a 10.0 in the regional, they also had ones closer to a 9.0, and those are the ones they need to improve.

“I believe that with the talent that Valpo will bring and that (Fort Wayne) Dwenger has hit, it will take close to a 9.5 three times on every event,” Freshour said. “These girls have certainly got (personal records) in that arena all the way across the board, so we’re going to try to get as close to our PRs, and then it could happen.”

While North posted a better regional score than Valpo on the vault and a similar score on the bars, the Bull Dogs were about a point behind the Vikings on both the beam and floor.

North did, however, have an off day on the beam and floor at the regional and will look to return to the scores they had been putting up for most of the season.

East, meanwhile, will look to move up into the top four, which would put it on the medal stand. Led by Minor, the Olympians put up the state’s sixth-best regional score (109.75) in finishing second behind the Bull Dogs in the regional.

“You can’t know what anybody’s doing until everybody is judged by the same people,” Kirshman said. “Our goal is to get up there on the podium.”

Players picked for classic

Two Columbus senior football players have been selected to play in the 50th North-South All-Star Classic on July 15 at North Central High School.

Columbus East lineman Aaron Kruchten and Columbus North safety Mitchell Kelley will play for the South squad that will take on the North. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

With this year’s game being the 50th in the series, all coaches and players who have been in a North-South game are being invited. Retired Penn coach Chris Geesman will lead the North team, and retired Carmel and Ben Davis coach Dick Dullaghan will lead the South squad.

Bull Dog is Academic All-State

Paige Littrell, who helped the Columbus North girls basketball team reach the Class 4A state finals, has been named to the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Academic All-State team.

Littrell is one of 37 seniors on the first team who excelled in both basketball and academics.

Players selected to Top 60

Three Columbus players have been selected to Hoosier Basketball Magazine’s Top 60 senior girls basketball players.

Columbus East’s Audrey Wetzel will participate in the annual Top 60 Workout Sunday at Marian University. Columbus North’s Littrell and Elle Williams were also selected, but will not be attending the workout.

Wetzel, Littrell and Williams also have been named to the Hoosier Basketball Coaches Association All-District 3 girls team. East seniors Parker Chitty, Zach Sanders and Kevin Williams made the HBCA All-District 3 boys squad.