WARRIORS MAKING STRIDES, MOVE PAST TIGERS
Ink Free News / Sports on Wednesday, January 27, 2021
By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – There wasn’t much to sample from, but Kenady Meerzo and Talia Kuhl left lasting impressions. In a meet with just seven full-time performers, Wawasee eclipsed the 90-point mark for the first time this season in a 90.175-53.875 gymnastics result over visiting Warsaw Tuesday night.
Meerzo had a career night, taking second on bars (6.225), floor (7.75) and a no-fall beam (7.8). Her all-around score of 29.875 led the meet, giving the sophomore her first-ever all-around blue ribbon.
“It’s been fairly obvious of late that our girls are heading into meets and starting to just thrive,” said Wawasee head coach Molly Liston. “Kenady really took a step up tonight and put on a good show. She has gotten so much better than even in December, and getting that all-around hopefully gives her more confidence to keep getting better.”
In a dual that had Warsaw bring just three able bodies, and only two competing in more than one event, and with Wawasee throwing out just four, pickens were slim for highlights. In addition to Meerzo’s no-fall beam routine was Olivia Ousley’s no-fall, her second straight meet in accomplishment, and a top score of 8.425. Ousley also won the floor at 8.225, was second on vault at 8.45, and powered through a rare bars performance.
Talia Kuhl provided a shot in the arm for Wawasee, winning vault at 8.65 with a nice first go on the runway. Kuhl also won bars at 6.85, and had a couple simple falls that soured what was a good show on beam at 6.85.
Emma Ebright added a 7.725 on floor for third in the meet to add to Wawasee’s totals.
“We’re only five weeks from sectionals, so we’ve been lighting a fire under them reminding them of that,” Liston said. “If they want to hit some skills at sectionals, we don’t have any time to wait. We’ve got to go. It’s really about challenging them, seeing what we are doing well and where we want to go.”
Warsaw knows with each meet it’s up against the wall in team scoring with just three regulars and Ella Collins only competing on floor thus far. The Tigers were in more of a predicament Tuesday with Sydni Purvis, its top scorer, still out for COVID protocols. The chance to get on someone else’s equipment, however, allowed Brooke Bollinger score third on vault (8.25) and bars (5.625).
Collins had a 6.925 for her floor routine, and Julianne Olson was fourth on bars (5.275).
“We didn’t have anything to lose so we just wanted to come in and see what we could do,” started Warsaw head coach Tonya Douglass. “We have Lakeland (Invite) in a couple weeks and we want to see where we are at knowing most of the sectional will be there. We don’t have anything next week, and we will get Sydni back, so this will be a chance to look at tonight, get our bearings and prepare for Lakeland.”
NorthWood’s Emilee Conrad posted an 8.0 on vault and 6.55 on floor among her totals.
Before the meet, longtime Wawasee head coach Nika Prather was presented the Northern Lakes Conference Service Award, highlighting over 30 years of coaching at Wawasee.