NOBLESVILLE — Pick just about any sport, and those closest to it will tell you it’s a game of inches.
That is certainly the case in gymnastics. Maybe moreso than just about any other sport.
In gymnastics, fractions of points can be deducted for, among other things, not having toes pointed straight and slight steps on a landing.
So when a gymnastics meet — led alone one the caliber of a high school state championship — is decided by less than one-tenth of a point, all the little elements come into play.
Such was the case on Saturday afternoon at Noblesville High School. Columbus North freshman Emily Moore finished third in the all-around competition, 75-thousanths of a point out of first.
“When you find out you are out of first place by less than a tenth, you’re thinking in the back of your mind, ‘What could I have done a little different?’” North co-coach Sandy Freshour said. “But she’s a freshman. She has three more years. One of the hardest things about gymnastics is when you make a mistake, it’s not like if you miss a free throw and then hit a 3-point shot and make up for it. You can’t get back what you lost.”
In Moore’s case, that came on her second of four events, the balance beam. She already had perfectly executed a back tuck and a front flip (with no hands) on the beam and was on her way to putting up a score in the 9.7 range when she hit a little bit of a snag on her dismount.
“I was coming down on my back-handspring, and my foot slipped,” Moore said. “So I just did a back tuck instead of twisting.”
Moore thinks that and the slightly off-center landing may have cost her a couple tenths of a point. In a meet that close, that made a difference.
Still, Moore had a shot at the all-around title. She led the competition going into the final rotation. She put up a 9.6 on the vault, but two seniors — Fort Wayne Carroll’s Ashelynn Steinke on the beam and Chesterton’s Jordan Bush on the floor — came through with even bigger performances on those events to move slightly ahead of her.
Steinke finished with a 38.125 to Bush’s 38.1. Moore scored a 38.05.
“They had (the standings) up on the scoreboard, so I was watching,” Moore said. “It was not my best, but I still did good for my first state meet. But I think I can do better.”
In addition to her third-place all-around finish, Moore tied for third on the floor with a 9.575 and finished fourth on the beam (9.45) and fifth on the vault (9.6). She just missed the podium in her other event with a seventh-place finish on the bars (9.425) and as part of the fifth-place Bull Dog team.
With the two girls finishing ahead of her being seniors, Moore might get a state title and more the next three years.
“We’re still hoping for very good things in the future for her,” North co-coach Bob Arthur said.
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at [email protected] or 812-379-5628.