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Published: Saturday, 3/2/2013

STATE GYMNASTICS

Findlay gymnasts vaults to fourth-place finish; Springfield takes 11th

BY JARROD ULREY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

HILLIARD, Ohio — The last time the Findlay gymnastics team competed at the state meet, it had a performance it would rather forget.

In 2011, the Trojans recorded the lowest score of 12 teams in the beam and ended up 10th overall.

Things didn’t go much better in the beam in Findlay’s return trip Friday at Hilliard Bradley, but that didn’t keep the team from significantly improving on their last team appearance.

The Trojans recorded the 10th-best beam score (32.675) but used a strong day on vault (36.175) to earn a fourth-place overall finish with 139.125.

Brecksville-Broadview Heights scored (148.325) capture its 10th consecutive championship. The finals for individual competition will be held today.

Springfield was 11th (129.850) among the 12 teams in its first state appearance.

“Beam was a disappointment for the girls; we had to count two falls,” said Findlay coach Traci Dunn, who was named a state coach of the year along with her husband, Joe Dunn. “But vault went well for us and even bars. I’m just glad we were consistent. We always knew we had the potential to score well.”

Alexa Settlemire led Findlay on vault (9.55), the fourth-highest score among any individual in the event. Also on vault, Erin Rauschenberg and Maranda Butler recorded 8.9 and Leah Thomas 8.825.

Tori Cox led on bars (8.825) and beam (8.575) and Settlemire finished with 9.325 while Cox and Rauschenberg each recorded 8.9 on floor.

“I did club, so this is a lot different,” Cox said. “It’s more about the team than about the individual. Beam is one of the events I’m strong on, and I’ve had a no-fall season.”

“We’ve put in a lot of work this year, so we definitely deserve it,” Thomas said.

Springfield’s best scores were on floor (33.725) and vault (33.150).

Cassie Frantz (8.725) and Jacey Gray (8.7) led the way on vault, Gray had the best score on bars (8.1) and beam (8.275) and Gray, Caeli Barnes and Frantz all recorded 8.5 on floor.

Gray competed as an individual two seasons ago on beam but did not record a score that year when it was ruled that she wore an illegal earring.

Competing at state this time was a much more enjoyable experience.

“It wasn’t our best meet, but we just made it here and wanted to do our best,” Gray said. “Overall it was a good experience. We’ve had a really good season, winning our league and finishing in the top two at district. Our season actually has gone pretty well.”

Two seasons ago, according to Blue Devils coach Jessie Reitz, Springfield had just two competitors.

“I thought the girls did well,” Reitz said. “They were a little nervous on beam and had some falls, but we hit our floor and hit our vault. They’ve done so well and I’m really proud of them. Last year we were a young team and this year we feel like we just put our routines together.”



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