SECTIONAL HOPES REALLY ARE UP IN THE AIR
StaceyPageOnline / Sports on Thursday, February 21, 2019
SYRACUSE – Unlike any in recent memory, the gymnastics postseason will begin without much to gauge.
The Wawasee Gymnastics Sectional will bring in its usual compliment of teams from the surrounding area. What will be different this year is most coaches are still trying to figure out rosters, as weather has, and continues to play a major role in the gymnastics season.
“The weather did not work with us this season,” said Warsaw head coach Tonya Douglass. “I feel like we are in a good place going into sectionals. The girls continue to work hard and continue to want to upgrade where we can.”
Douglass’ team dealt with the struggles everyone else did, only getting in six actual meet dates this season, with four others either cancelled altogether or condensed into another. Throw in Warsaw has competed once since Feb. 6, and as Douglass noted, “anything can happen at sectionals.”
The Tigers have been led all season by senior Remi Beckham, who has been among the better all-around performers. Beckham has been a consistent nine on floor and beam for much of the season, and a mid-eight on vault and bars. Daylen Turner and Sydni Purvis have also provided quality scores, and with the additions of Adree Beckham and Anna Wainscott in select areas, Warsaw has been hovering at the 100-point mark for most of the year.
In a sectional where Wawasee, Elkhart Central and Lakeland have all taken steps back in losing frontline talent, Douglass is hopeful her team can land one of the top three spots and take the team to a regional for the first time since 2010.
“Our plan for Saturday is to be confident, trust ourselves and do the best we can,” Douglass said. “I think if we can do that and we end up top three, that would be pretty awesome. If not, at least we put everything out there. At the end of the season I can only reflect back at our successes and improvements this year as a team and all I can be is proud of them.”
Wawasee, the hosts for this year’s sectional, got in a little more work than Warsaw did in 10 meets, but just two since Feb. 7. The Lady Warriors, already thin coming into the season with just seven on the opening day roster, are down to five, and will be all hand’s on deck this weekend.
Wawasee does bring in a very capable trio at the top in seniors Jada Parzygnot and Alyssa Minnix as well as junior Aundreya Wegener. All three have regional experience, and Parzygnot was even a state alternate as a sophomore. Parzygnot has been the big hitter for Wawasee, who can consistently score in the nines on any of the four disciplines, particularly beam and floor. Wegener has been the biggest surprise, taking a leap into the nines on multiple occasions on beam and floor, two areas Wawasee will need to be razor sharp if it wants to continue on to the Huntington Regional.
“I don’t know what to expect at sectionals,” said Wawasee head coach Nika Prather. “I know our top three are going to have to be on in everything if we want any chance. We have been pretty consistent around 100, but against these teams in a sectional, you are going to have to get a 104 or 105 to be competitive. Just when I think we are inching our way to it, we take a dip somewhere. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this all shakes out.”
Freshmen Kenady Meerzo and Katie VanFleeren will both be called upon by Prather to work as the fourth in Wawasee’s rotations.
If all goes as has throughout the season, DeKalb and Angola will be fighting it out at the top. Both teams have been scoring in the mid 100s for much of the season and certainly should be there if their stars hit. Angola brings in a loaded roster, led by Gracie Flatt, Emma Schoenherr and Ashtyn Evans, who all have top-20 state scores up and down the line. Emily Bracey is also a very capable Hornet. DeKalb’s duo of Shiloh Miller and Sarah Boyd will factor into things, Boyd owning one of the top all-around series in the state.
Kathy Krauter’s Elkhart Central squad won’t go away quietly, winners of the last four sectional titles and seven in the last 13 years. Rylee Damewood is their ace and has the potential to score in the mid-nines. Lakeland’s Whittney Ray should also factor into the advancement positions, putting on a display head-to-head against Beckham in the team’s dual Monday night.
This year’s sectional will be held in a different location, with action at the old Syracuse Elementary School starting at 11 a.m. The school is across the railroad tracks from the high school on W. Boston St.
The top three teams as well as the top six individuals in vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around advance to next weekend’s Huntington North Regional.