Gymnastics: Trio of gymnasts lead Crown Point into DAC meet
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent February 18, 2013 9:06PM
Crown Point's Hannah Best sprints to the vault during a gymnastics meet against Valparaiso on Jan. 3. | Scott R. Brandush~For the Post-Tribune
Post-Tribune Top 3
3. Crown Point
Gymnast of the Week
Andi Wartman, Lake Central
In last Tuesday’s dual meet with Lowell, Wartman led the Indians to victory by posting first-place scores on vault (9.05), floor (9.15), beam (7.8) and all-around (33.35).
DAC Meet Preview
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Merrillville High School
Teams: Valparaiso, Portage, Crown Point, Chesterton, Lake Central, LaPorte, Michigan City, Merrillville
Gymnasts to watch: Valparaiso: Morgan Algozine, Hannah Erwin, Rushelle Miller; Portage: Mackenzie Barcelli, Danielle Solis, Madison Kurtz; Crown Point: Megan Supan, Hannah Best, Natalie Groff; Chesterton: Brandi Tuzinski, Marisa Myers, Lindsey Campbell; Lake Central: Andi Wartman; LaPorte: Hannah Sightes, Melanie Smith, Marissa Hill; Michigan City: Ashley Koza, Natalie Smith, Shelby Ford; Merrillville: Amy Aponte, Lauren Lamb, Kristina Goodman, Taylor Woods, Hannah Lane.
Updated: February 18, 2013 10:35PM
CROWN POINT — In Indiana high school gymnastics, the top three scores from each event count towards the team’s total score. So teams which have three reliable performers at the top of its lineup hold a major advantage.
And in the 2012-13 season, Crown Point has just that.
“In all of the other years, we’ve had only had two. We’ve always needed a good third girl,” said Crown Point senior Megan Supan.
The addition of freshman Hannah Best to a lineup that already boasted Supan and another talented gymnast in junior Natalie Groff has propelled the Bulldogs to a season that head coach Ami Pysh believes is the second most successful season in program history.
“With Hannah coming in, I think they were really excited about that,” said Pysh. “Sometimes, it just takes that one kid to make the difference. What that’s done for all the others is move them to take the extra step and try new things.”
As an example, Best’s ability to perform a “Tsuk” vault led Groff to acquire the same skill, with both gymnasts now aspiring to advance deep into the postseason on that vault.
Said Groff: “We all knew our team was going to be successful this year, so we picked up some of our skills and got more consistent with our routines.”
Best’s addition to the team provided mutual benefits. While the Crown Point squad was bolstered by her lofty scores, the freshman welcomed the chance to leave behind the individiually-driven club gymnastics scene.
“It’s all about the team now,” she said, “and it’s definitely easier to work as part of a team. It’s not as nerve-wracking.”
Not only has the top of the lineup improved for Crown Point, but the heightened talent level has increased scores across the board.
Said Pysh: “We’ve got so much talent this year, it gives us the depth to stack our deck a little bit more.”
It’s also taken pressure off of the top three gymnasts.
“We have plenty of teammates to fall back on if one of us messes up,” said Groff.
With this talent, the Bulldogs have posted regular season success that Pysh said was only surpassed by the 2004-05 Crown Point squad that went undefeated in the regular season en route to the program’s only state finals appearance. The 2012-13 Bulldogs’ only two losses have come to top-ranked Portage and Valparaiso, last year’s state runners-up.
Ranked seventh in the most recent coaches’ poll, Crown Point has won dual meets against No. 6 Chesterton, No. 9 Merrillville, No. 10 Michigan City and No. 11 LaPorte.
They’ll take that experience into this Saturday’s ultra-competitive DAC Meet, which will feature seven of the top 11 ranked teams in the state.
“It’s such a talented conference,” said Pysh. “Everybody has been increasing their team totals. Valparaiso and Portage are another echelon, but that third-place spot is really up for grabs.”
All three gymnasts marked a team score of 107 as the goal for Saturday’s competition. They also agreed that staying on the beam will be the biggest key to reaching that number.
Added Pysh: “Whoever stays on the beam wins the meet; that’s just how it is.”