NOBLESVILLE — Columbus North’s hopes at landing on the awards podium with a top-four team finish in Saturday’s Gymnastics State Finals took a big hit with a few falls on the Bull Dogs’ first two events, bars and beam.
North battled back to nearly climb into the top four, but fell less than a half-point short. The seventh-ranked Bull Dogs finished fifth with a 108.575, 45-hundreths of a point behind fourth-place Portage.
“We didn’t start off good,” North co-coach Bob Arthur said. “Normally, meets are broken by bars and beam, and we didn’t have a very good day there today.”
Chesterton defended its state title with a 113.875. Fort Wayne Carroll finished second with a 110.975, followed by Lake Central at 110.175, Portage at 109.025 and the Bull Dogs. Columbus East finished eighth at 103.6.
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North began with a 25.625 on the bars. Then came a 26.6 on the beam.
“They would all tell you they did not have their best meet,” North co-coach Sandy Freshour said. “We had a good warmup. I thought we were going to compete a little better than we did, and it just didn’t work out that way. You have to be just tough as nails and really solid and not let any nerves get to you, and we had nerves today that got the better of us.”
The Bull Dogs came back with a 28.375 on the floor, tying for the second-best score in that event. They finished with a 27.975 on the vault, third-best in that event. All four North gymnasts on both the floor and vault scored in the 9s.
North freshman Emily Moore earned four medals. She 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).
Moore led the all-around through three events and her 38.05 score was good enough for third, less than a point out of first. Carroll’s Ashelynn Steinke edged fellow senior Jordan Bush of Portage 38.125 to 38.1 for the title.
“(Moore) had a good day,” Freshour said. “She certainly anchored our team and put up some good scores on every single event that helped us finish where we did finish. So it wasn’t a disappointing day overall.”
The Bull Dogs’ other all-around competitor, senior Tova Edwards, finished 19th with a 35.45. She tied for 11th on the floor with a 9.45.
North junior Alayne Davis tied for 19th on the floor with a 9.35.
The Bull Dogs were making their 13th consecutive appearance at the state meet, the state’s longest active streak.
“What I want the girls to take away from this season is that we are here, and they worked really, really hard, and nothing can take away their undefeated season, their conference championship, their sectional or their regional championship. They did well, so I hope that as they go into the offseason and work and train hard, they remember not well they did, not (finishing) off the podium at the state meet because that does not define them.”
East began its day on the beam, where it scored a 24.6. The Olympians followed with a 27.55 on the floor, a 26.6 on the vault and a 24.85 on the bars.
East finished ahead of ninth-place Richmond, which had edged the Olympians in last week’s East Regional.
“Our goal was to beat Richmond and not finish last, and we accomplished that,” East coach Nancy Kirshman said. “We’re just a little young. We were competing one senior, two sophomores and a freshman basically, and a couple seniors filled in here and there and did a nice job.”
The Olympians’ senior all-around gymnast, Taylor Gaskill, finished 12th with a 36.475. She led East on all four events, taking 15th on the floor (9.4), 17th on the bars (8.95), 18th on the beam (8.75) and 20th on the vault (9.375).
“She shot herself in the foot a couple times,” Kirshman said. “That fall on beam hurt her and a couple touches here and there, but overall, she had a good day.”