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Let's get ready to tumble

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Tuesday night, the Connersville High School gymnasium belonged to Joann Borders and her Lady Spartan gymnasts, as the team kicked off its 2017-18 season with the traditional double-dual against New Castle and New Palestine.

Being that all three teams will be pitted against one another at the sectional meet a little more than six weeks from now, urgency might not have been the best word to describe the night, but you can bet that each of the coaching staffs were watching not only their charges, but their opponents very closely.

"This is always an important meet, because these are three of the top teams that will be competing in our sectional," Borders said. "So now that we know where we are right now, we just need to focus on getting better as the season goes along."

Connersville won both ends of the dual, beating New Castle by a 98.75-94.05 margin, and eclipsing New Palestine by a 98.75-93.32 score.

New Palestine is the defending sectional champion, and New Castle finished fourth, right on Connersville's heels last February.

So, while the two wins were big for the Spartans, Borders was more pleased with the performances during the meet, both while competing and just watching.

"The girls went out and hit what they could hit tonight," she said. "But was particularly pleased with the way the kids supported one other, while their teammates all worked so hard to give their best routines. It was a very fun meet, due to those things."

Familiarity with one another means that Borders will probably see even more of that as the season progresses.

"These girls are all friends, and they grew up together, competing in USA gymastics," she explained.

Connersville's event of the night was the uneven bars, as it was there that Whitney Owens (8.225), Ali Sargent (8.025), Allison Hoffman (7.9) and Katelyn Burris (7.875) took the top four spots in both duals.

Hoffman earned CHS' only other first-place finish on the night, finishing tied with Pendleton Heights' Cassie Zehr with her floor exercise, a performance that earned her a score of 8.675. The Connersville tumbler also nabbed a tie for the runner-up spot on the balance beam, finishing her night second in the All-Around standings with a score of 32.875. trailing Zehr (33.7).

Hoffman was one of several young gymnasts competing for Borders, a group that stepped up really well, according to the long-time CHS mentor.

"Our younger gymnasts were really good about competing for the first time. (Victoria) Metcalfe, (Delaynee) Hall, (Hailey) McCord and Hoffman all competed in USA gymnastics," Borders said. "With that comes a lot of experience. Along with those girls, Alexus Jordan has put in some extra time in the gym, so tonight those things really showed."

Connersville set the tone early, getting the start to its season on the vault. And the Spartans wasted little time in setting a high bar for the meet with their efforts.

"Whitney, Katelyn, Laila (Fitzgerald) and Ali all hit good half-full vaults, and each of them got good scores for that," Borders said. "That was huge to get off to a good start like that."

The 25.7 earned by CHS in was the second-highest event score of the evening by any of the three teams, and pointed the Spartans in the direction of victory.

Connersville is again in action tonight, as the team travels to Rushville for a dual against the Lady Lions. The Spartans return home on Thursday, Jan. 25, for a meet against Muncie Central.

"I am defintely excited about our performances tonight," Borders said. "I am very proud of these girls."

 

 

GYMNASTICS

(at Connersville High School gymnasium)

Connersville 98.75, New Castle 94.05

Vault

1. Cassie Zehr (Pendleton Heights) 9.15; 2. Samantha Ward (NC) 8.85; 3. Laila Fitzgerald (CHS) 8.6; 4. (tie) Ali Sargent (CHS) 8.55; 4. (tie) Whitney Owens (CHS) 8.55; 4. (tie) Riley Smith (NC) 8.55; 5. (tie) Katelyn Burris (CHS) 8.5; 5. (tie) Hayley Kottka (Union County) 8.5; 6. Bailey Guffey (NC) 8.45. Other Connersville competitors: Allison Hoffman 8.4, Kenzy Lynch 8.0, Delaynee Hall 7.95, Victoria Metcalfe 7.8.

Uneven bars

1. Owens 8.225; 2. Sargent 8.025; 3. Hoffman 7.9; 4. Burris 7.875; 5. Ward 7.825; 6. Zehr 7.675. Other Connersville competitors: Metcalfe 6.8, Hall 6.65, Alexus Jordan 4.775, Hailey McCord 4.25.

Balance beam

1. Zehr 8.7; 2. (tie) Burris 7.9; 2. (tie) Hoffman 7.9; Smith 7.9; 3. Kottka 7.575; 4. (tie) Sargent 7.525; 4. (tie) Guffey 7.525; 5. Owens 7.375; 6. Sarah Mady (NC) 7.25. Other Connersville competitors: Lynch 6.875, Hall 6.425, Mary Willett 4.6.

Floor exercise

1. (tie) Hoffman 8.675; 1. (tie) Zehr 8.675; 2. Smith 8.6; 3. Owens 8.5; 4. Burris 8-4; 5. Ward 8.375; 6. (tie) Sargent 8.15; 6. (tie) Lynch 8.15. Other Connersville competitors: Hall 7.575, Fitzgerald 7.55, Metcalfe 7.075.

All-Around

1. Zehr 33.7; 2. Hoffman 32.875; 3. Burris 32.675; 4. Owens 32.65; 5. Sargent 32.25; 6. Ward 32.0. Other Connersville competitor: Hall 28.6.

— — —

Connersville 98.75, New Palestine 93.32

Vault

1. Cassie Zehr (Pendleton Heights) 9.15; 2. Laila Fitzgerald (CHS) 8.6; 3. (tie) Ali Sargent (CHS) 8.55; 3. (tie) Whitney Owens (CHS) 8.55; 4. (tie) Katelyn Burris 8.5; 4. (tie) Hayley Kottka (Union County) 8.5; 5. (tie) Allison Hoffman (CHS) 8.4; 5. (tie) Taylor Brown (NP) 8.4; 6. Aly Henson (NP) 8.3. Other Connersville competitors: Kenzy Lynch 8.0, Delaynee Hall 7.95, Victoria Metcalfe 7.8.

Uneven bars

1. Owens 8.225; 2. Sargent 8.025; 3. Hoffman 7.9; 4. Burris 7.875; 5. Zehr 7.675; 6. Henson 7.6. Other Connersville competitors: Kotta (UC) 6.925, Metcalfe 6.8, Hall 6.65, Alexus Jordan 4.775, Hailey McCord 4.25.

Balance beam

1. Anna Greiner (NP) 8.4; 2. Zehr 8.2; 3. Brown 7.975; 4. (tie) Burris 7.9; 4. (tie) Hoffman 7.9; 5. Kottka 7.575; 6. Sargent 7.525. Other Connersville competitors: Owens 7.375, Lynch 6.875, Hall 6.425, Mary Willett 4.6.

Floor Exercise

1. 1. (tie) Hoffman 8.675; 1. (tie) Zehr 8.675; 2. (tie) Owens 8.5; 2. (tie) Henson 8.5; 3. Burris 8.4; 4. (tie) Lynch 8.15; 4. (tie) Sargent 8.15; 5. Emma Poag (NP) 7.825; 6. Addie Halter (NP) 7.6. Other Connersville competitors: Hall 7.575, Fitzgerald 7.55, Kottka (UC) 7.1, Metcalfe 7.075.

All-Around

1. Zehr 33.7; 2. Hoffman 32.875; 3. Burris 32.675; 4. Owens 32.65; 5. Sargent 32.25, 6. Henson 31.9. Other Connersville competitor: Hall 28.6.