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Gymnastics: Valparaiso scores high in winning DAC meet

Valparaiso's Morgan Algozine receives hug from Coach Becky Juergens after her beam routine DunelConference Meet Merrillville High School Saturday February

Valparaiso's Morgan Algozine receives a hug from Coach Becky Juergens after her beam routine at the Duneland Conference Meet at Merrillville High School on Saturday February 23, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 23, 2013 9:33PM



MERRILLVILLE — Score this round for Valparaiso.

A team score of 113.5 earned the Vikings their second straight Duneland Athletic Conference meet championship over second-place Portage, which finished with a team score of 111.725.

“We’re going to enjoy the heck out of this. It was a huge win,” Valparaiso coach Lorie Cook said. “It was nice to be back in the 113s again.”

Portage, ranked No. 1 in the state, won the regular-season matchup between the two schools, which sent Valparaiso — then the No. 1 team — down to the fourth spot. But a complete team performance led the Vikings back on top of the podium.

Seniors Morgan Algozine and Hannah Erwin turned in their typical solid performances finishing first (38.4) and third (37.5), respectively, in all-around.

“This was our first big meet of the tournament season,” said Algozine, “so we just wanted to get some confidence so we can have smooth sailing all the way to state.”

Valparaiso also got big contributions from some underclassmen. Freshman Caroline Miller (9.6) and sophomore Rushelle Miller (9.675) each set new personal records on vault.

“They didn’t have a lot of big-meet experience last year so that was just great,” Cook said. “That rotation really set us up on bars.”

Freshman Lia Milroy overcame a shaky beam performance to set personal records on bars (9.2) and floor (9.5).

“When you have a start like that, especially in a big meet like this, you just have to focus so you can do better on the rest of the events,” Milroy said.

Portage placed a trio in the top six all-around spots: Mackenzie Barcelli (38.275, second), Danielle Solis (36.575, fifth) and Madison Kurtz (36.450, sixth). But a score of 26.1 on bars, with Valparaiso scoring 28.475, kept the Indians in second.

“We’ve still got some things that we didn’t put in today, but they’ll be there next week and the falls won’t be,” Portage head coach Karen Barcelli said. “Today was like a good practice for us because we knew how loud it was going to be; our rotation seemed to be three times as loud. We needed that. We wanted them to feel that pressure.”

Chesterton took third with a team score of 107.55, led by junior Brandi Tuzinski’s all-around total of 37.225 — good for fourth place. Within striking distance of the Trojans were: Crown Point (105.225), Merrillville (104.850) and Michigan City (104).



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