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Published: Thursday, 2/12/2009

Sidelines: Gymnastics district at SeaGate

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

This year s district gymnastics tournament will move to the SeaGate Centre for the first time on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Jeff Snyder, principal of Edgerton and member of the Northwest District Athletic Board, said the move from its long-time home at Van Buren was made for a variety of reasons.

One is that the SeaGate Centre also will host another gymnastics event called the Frogtown Invitational that weekend.

As I ve learned more about the sport, I ve found that judges for this sport also are involved with club sport judging, Snyder said. Many of the judges will be at an event there that weekend, so that s part of the reason for the move.

But Snyder said the chance to move the tournament to Toledo also was a factor.

Roughly 75 percent of the schools that sponsor gymnastics are in the Toledo area, and the rest are a half-hour away, he said. We re hoping this might bring a lot more people to the event parents, classmates and fans of the sport from Toledo who may not wish to drive to Van Buren.

Of the 21 area schools that sponsor the sport, the group includes five City League schools, six Northern Lakes League schools as well as Ottawa Hills and Toledo Christian.

Snyder said the move was no reflection on Van Buren, which is located roughly 40 miles south of Toledo just north of Findlay.

There s nothing wrong with Van Buren that site has been very good to us, he said. This move is a one-year trial, and if this facility doesn t work, I would have no problem moving back to Van Buren.

Snyder said a variety of factors will go into the evaluation of the SeaGate Centre as a long-term host of the event.

We will gauge the response of our athletes first, our coaches second and our administrators third, Snyder said. We ll also do a cost analysis, judging if we spend more or save more with the tournament there. We know that a lot of factors have to fall into place in terms of cost, travel and such.

But we just want to have the venue that gives our girls the best possible experience, and the best chance to advance to the state meet.

The top two teams and the top five individuals will advance to the state meet at Hilliard Darby High School in suburban Columbus on March 6-7.

Among the top returnees is Napoleon s Kendall Homan, who won the all-around title last year while also finishing first in the vault, uneven parallel bars and floor exercise.

The road to the state swim meet starts this weekend for area swimmers, with sectionals beginning tomorrow and Saturday.

Among the high schools that will host sectionals this weekend are St. Francis, Napoleon, Fremont Ross and Ayersville.

A major change in the qualifying process this year is the addition of a second division in boys swimming, giving Ohio two divisions for both boys and girls.

The top swimmer in each division, as well as a pool of at-large qualifiers, will advance to the district meet to be held at Bowling Green State University.



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