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Lady Bulldogs’ 4th at DAC gymnastics finals

Merrillville was home DAC gymnastics finals Saturday February 23 2013. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media

Merrillville was the home of the DAC gymnastics finals on Saturday, February 23, 2013. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media

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Duneland Athletic Conference

Gymnastics

2-23-13 @ Merrillville

1. Valparaiso (113.50)

2. Portage (111.725)

3. Chesterton (107.55)

4. CP (105.225)

5. MERRILLVILE (104.85)

6. Michigan City (104.00)

7. LaPorte (102.975)

8. LAKE CENTRAL (93.925)

INDIVIDUALS

(all-round performers only)

1. VALPARAISO (113.50)

(all-around score) vault-bars-beam-floor

Morgan Algozine (38.400) 9.9 - 9.750 - 9.050 - 9.7

Hannah Erwin (37.500) 9.25 - 9.525 - 9.175 - 9.550

2. PORTAGE (111.725)

Mackenzie Barcelli (38.275) 9.550 - 9.475 - 9.50 - 9.750

Danielle Solis (36.575) 9.825 - 8.175 - 9.475 - 9.100

Madison Kurtz (36.450) 9.525 - 8.400 - 9.000 - 0.525

Lyndsey Cunningham (34.250) 8.150 - 8.225 - 8.400 - 9.475

3. CHESTERTON (107.55)

Brandi Tuzinski (37.225) 9.500 - 9.250 - 9.425 - 9.050

Lindsey Campbell (35.925) 9.0-50 - 9.125 - 8.675 - 9.075

Jordan Kearby (34.440) 8.750 - 8.625 - 8.275 - 8.750

4. CROWN POINT (105.225)

Megan Supan (35.150) 9.1 - 7.950 - 8.8 - 9.3

Natalie Groff (34.800) 8.55 - 8.45 - 8.55 - 9.250

Hannah Best (34.125) 9.05 - 9.05 - 6.675 - 9.35

5. MERRILLVILLE (104.85)

Amy Aponte (34.675) 8.6 - 8.775 - 8.450 - 8.850

6. MICHIGAN CITY (104.00)

Ashley Koza (35.600) 8.750 - 9.400 - 8.550 - 9.100

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Updated: March 3, 2013 7:18PM



MERRILLVILLE — When Portage defeated Valparaiso in gymnastics early in the season, not everybody accepted that Portage was the better team.

There was more evidence of that last Saturday when Valparaiso topped Portage 113.500-111.375 for the Duneland Athletic Conference championship in the Merrillville gymnastics room.

But for teams living in the real world (the world that does not include No. 1 Portage or No. 2 Valpo), much was left undecided.

Chesterton, which lost to Crown Point during the regular season, turned back CP 107.55-105.225 for third place. Merrillville (104.850), which lost 106.750-106.450 to Crown Point on Feb. 16, placed fifth in the DAC meet.

But the feeling seemed to be, your place in the DAC is nice but it isn’t that indicative of where you’ll finish at the Chesterton Sectional, which comes up this Saturday at 11 a.m.

CP left the purple Pirate palace thinking it could place third this weekend.

“It all depends on how you perform that day,” said CP coach Ami Pysh

Last week’s results left six teams in the DAC with no illusions, especially Crown Point. Except for Michigan City’s Ashley Koza placing fourth on bars, the top six finishers in all four events were from the top three schools, Valpo, Portage and Chesterton.

Crown Point’s top scoring all-around performer, senior Megan Supan (35.150) was not that close to sixth place Madison Kurtz (36.450) of Portage. Only the top three teams and the top six performers advance from the sectional to the Valparaiso Regional on Friday night March 1.

Since all DAC teams are in the Chesterton Sectional, Crown Point is probably going to have to take third as a team to have anyone at the regional finals.

“Supe (Megan Supan) had a good beam routine,” said CP coach Ami Pysh, “awesome vault, really good floor. I really wanted to finish third. We beat Chesterton in the duals (head-to-head) and I think that counts more than the DAC meet does.”

Crown Point freshman Hannah Best was strong in her last three events after a sub-par start on the balance beam. It’s common gymnastics knowledge that nobody likes to start a meet on the beam.

“She did really nice on floor,” said Pysh, “Really good on bars. Hannah is so good, but when something goes wrong, it’s hard for her to recover. The girls say she was like that in club (gymnastics) and that’s not nearly the pressure this is. So she’s getting better.”

Also getting better is junior Natalie Groff, who wore a knee and ankle brace all day, posting CP’s second best overall score.

“My ankle and knee are not fully healed,” Natalie explained on her way to the bus home Saturday. “I sprained both of them three weeks ago doing a dismount on bars. I guess there was a little bit of doubt that I’d be here today. I was out a week and a half. I think I did pretty well. I just need to work on the vault a little more. And beam.”

Groff’s scores have shown a bit of a bump up this year as the Bulldogs went 5-2 in DAC dual meet competition.

“I think in my rookie season, I was just getting used to high school gymnastics. It’s a lot different. This year, I knew what I needed to do.”

Valpo’s Morgan Algozine, the defending all-around state champion, knew what to do again last week.

Algozine won the vault and bars while Portage’s Mackenzie Barcelli won on the beam and the floor. Algozine (38.400) nipped Barcelli (38.275) in all-around numbers to take the DAC individual title.

CP fell short of Chesterton on two events. Chesterton outscored CP 26.375-25.175 on the balance beam and 27.00-25.450 on bars.

“Vault, we should be 9.4, 9.3, 9.1,” said Pysh. “On bars we should be 9.1, 8.4, 8.5. We are about two points off. I told them that when we do our best, we’re a 107 team.”

Pysh admitted it’s difficult to begin the meet on the balance beam, where nerves affect you more than the other three.

“We may have to do it again,” she said. “So they’re going to have to get used to that. I keep telling the girls that if you do the best routine of the meet (on the beam) you’re going to get first. It doesn’t matter when you go. You also want to get it over with. Think about the anxiety of waiting for that event.”

Groff agrees poor early performance shouldn’t kill the whole day at this week’s sectional.

“It’s a little rough,” Natalie said. “You definitely need to take it event by event and you can’t let messing up on one thing prevent your performance on everything else. Its the part of gymnastics you just have to get used to.”

DAC NOTES: The elephant in the room at Merrillville Saturday was that the gymnastics room was far too small for an eight-team meet.

The vault path was within five feet of the floor exercise mat.

Fans could only enter at one end of the room and were walking within 10 feet of the vault runway.

There was no walking space at all outside the event sites, lighting was poor and with contestants and fans screaming (as they traditionally do in gymnastics), it was a tough room to be in.

But none of the competitors or coaches complained even though the giant, well-lit Merrillville fieldhouse sat empty right across the hall.

“The wont let them drill holes in the floor to put the gymnastics equipment.” Explained CP coach Ami Pysh. “I like it. I love it here and I love coach (Diane) Roberts. It’s fine.”

Crown Point hosts the Duneland Athletic Conference meet next year.



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