HILLIARD — Findlay senior Alexa Settlemire refused to let injuries derail a high school gymnastics career that was capped off Saturday at Hilliard Bradley with three finishes on the podium.
As a freshman, Settlemire endured a broken left knee that occurred on a tumbling pass.
Then earlier this season, she suffered a strained hip flexor muscle.
Despite those obstacles, Settlemire placed third on vault (9.675), fifth on floor (9.375), and tied for fourth (36.350) with Lodi Cloverleaf’s Madeline Brandt in the all-around competition.
Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ Alecia Farina won bars (9.400), beam (9.450), vault (9.900), and all-around (38.350) and teammate Michaela Romito was first on floor (9.700).
“I got a 9.675 on vault, which was my best score [at state],” Settlemire said. “It puts a lot of stress on your body to be here two days in a row [after also competing with her team Friday]. By the last event, you’re just very fatigued.
“The effort you put in the gym every season helps you get better. This year I strained my hip flexor but I was able to push through it. State was very exciting.”
Saturday also marked the final day of state competition for Archbold senior Kinsey Smith, and she took advantage of that by placing third on floor (9.500). She also competed on bars (8.600).
“It definitely feels awesome [to reach the state podium],” Smith said. “I’ve been through a rough journey and to be up there is a blessing. I had the worst mental block on floor that was just an ongoing battle. It was such a relief to go and do well.”
Just missing advancing to the podium on beam was Notre Dame’s Kyra Schell, who was seventh (9.125). She was joined in the event by teammate Kelsie Steinmetz (8.675).
Also competing in the all-around from Findlay were Tori Cox (34.175) and Leah Thomas (34.075).
Liberty Center’s Cheyenne Rentschler competed on vault (8.900).
Cox’s best scores were on floor (8.825) and bars (8.725) and Thomas’ top finish was on vault (8.725).
Clay’s Ashley O’Neal made her first state appearance, competing on beam (8.200).
“It was a really great experience, especially since I’m a freshman,” O’Neal said. “I just came out and tried to have fun. I was a little off of my roundoff but I got back on the beam and finished strong. Floor’s my favorite event but I pulled my hip and because of my injury I wasn’t able to [advance to state on floor].”
Northview’s Megan Matrisciano competed on vault (8.750) and floor (8.800).