TOUGH DAY ON THE EQUIPMENT
StaceyPageOnline / Sports on Saturday, February 23, 2019
SYRACUSE – Both Nika Prather and Tonya Douglass were motionless as the results of the Wawasee Gymnastics Sectional were announced. The two head coaches looked on as their teams were eliminated from regional consideration, while Prather had just two gymnasts earn individual advancement.
Plenty of curiosity and questions loomed as the sectional opened Saturday morning at the old Syracuse Elementary School. Many of the teams in the field were coming into the state tournament without much work in February due to weather, and other programs were rebounding from illness within its ranks. The rust and hesitancy showed early for Wawasee, having just one home meet on its own equipment in the month of February. It’s opening vaults were flimsy, and after a good rebound on bars that had Alyssa Minnix qualify for regional in a tie with Elkhart Central’s Ellie Dobson at 8.55, beam is where Prather pointed to her team’s collapse.
Falls from all four of its competitors had Wawasee compile just a 24.675 score, which added with its 24.8 on bars, had Wawasee trailing Elkhart Central heading to the fourth rotation, 77.825-75.475, for the coveted third team position behind Angola and DeKalb, which were running away with the top two spots.
Central hung a 26.8 on vault, led by Dobson’s 9.05 and Rylee Damewood’s 8.95. While Wawasee’s 27.65 floor was second-best among all teams in the category, it left the Lady Warriors with a 103.125 while Central scored a 104.625. Of the floor scores for Wawasee, Jada Parzygnot scored a 9.325 to take fourth and Aundreya Wegener had a very good routine but registered a 9.2 to tie Warsaw’s Remi Beckham for seventh and outside qualification. Minnix was ninth with her career-best 9.125 score.
“Beam is what cost the meet for us,” Prather said. “Everybody fell. Aundreya consistently stays on and she had been missing this one jump and it got in her head. She had been very inconsistent and so I knew that’s where it would make or break her.
“There were skills that both Jada and Alyssa made and Jada was trying a new dismount with a twist, and she tried it, and she fell. She kicked herself that she tried it. Beam made a huge difference.”
Beckham didn’t have the senior send-off she had hoped, finishing outside the top 10 on everything but floor, and ended with a 34.25 in all-around and was tied for 11th. The Tigers, which had finished with a promising fourth at the Lakeland Invite earlier in the month, landed fifth in the team standings at 100.075.
Warsaw’s other top ten score came from fellow senior Anna Wainscott, who closed her career with an 8.6 on beam, tied for eighth place with Central’s Karli Reveal. Adree Beckham had the other Tiger all-around score of 32.25, good for 15th in the ranks.
“I was pleased to be over 100, especially after last week being under 100 (at Lakeland),” Douglass said. “We had a few little oppses, but I can’t be upset about any of this. The girls worked really hard, and you have to give it up to Elkhart, they were amazing today to get that third spot. I think it was well deserved against them.
“Remi has always been our quiet leader,” continued Douglass. “She’s been like a mini coach for us and always was there to give feedback and help the other girls if they were struggling with something. That’s probably the biggest thing we’ll miss, and we’ll also miss Anna as well. Those two have done a lot to help get this program to where it is. I’m hoping that Daylen (Turner) and Adree can continue to be our leaders next year.”
It was a youth movement for champion Angola, which used a 37.275 all-around championship from Ashtyn Evans and 35.6 from Gracie Flatt – both freshmen – along with a 36.225 from sophomore Emma Schoenherr as part of its compilation of a 109.40 team championship. The Hornets held off the DeKalb duo of Sarah Boyd and Shiloh Miller, the Barons scoring 108.225 to finish second. Angola, DeKalb and Elkhart Central qualify for next week’s regional at Huntington North.
Schoenherr won vault at 9.35, Evans took bars at 9.725, Plymouth’s Kyla Heckaman scored 9.225 to win vault, and Miller tied Damewood for honors on floor at 9.55.
Team standings finished as Angola (109.4), DeKalb (108.225), Elkhart Central (104.625), Wawasee (103.125), Warsaw (100.075), Lakeland (94.875), Plymouth (93.725), East Noble (87.8), West Noble (77.95).