Gymnastics: Valparaiso scores season-high, wins 10th straight sectional title
By DAVE MELTON Post-Tribune correspondent March 2, 2013 11:10PM
Valparaiso's Hannah Erwin is hugged by her coaches after her uneven parallel bars routine during gymnastics sectionals in Chesterton, Ind. Saturday March 2, 2013. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 4, 2013 7:01AM
CHESTERTON — Valparaiso welcomed the postseason by establishing a new season-high score of 113.95 at Saturday’s sectional meet, capturing the program’s 21st sectional title and 10th in a row.
“We had awesome performances from all of our kids and it takes every single one of them,” Valparaiso head coach Lorie Cook said.
Portage finished second with a team score of 112.8.
“We still struggled a bit on bars, but they got some of their new stuff in,” Portage head coach Karen Barcelli said. “We still have to work out some of their nerves on that event. But I couldn’t ask for a better performance in the others.”
Valparaiso outscored Portage 28.225-27.025 on bars, the only event with a substantial difference between the two schools.
“The first event went well, our second event went even better and it just kept going,” said Valparaiso senior Hannah Erwin, who tied with Portage’s Mackenzie Barcelli for second place in all-around with a score of 38.125.
The top all-around performer was Vikings senior Morgan Algozine, with a score of 38.150. Algozine’s score was hurt by two falls on the beam, her third event of the night. But she quickly bounced back with a 9.7 on floor, winning that event and sealing the all-around crown.
“A little redemption was needed,” Algozine said of her floor routine. “Beam was a little rough, but you have to be able to come back from that.”
Algozine’s beam struggles did not affect Valparaiso’s team score, thanks to impressive routines from Erwin (9.6), Emily Crosmer (9.55) and Rushelle Miller (9.1).
“That was amazing,” Cook said. “It’s not just the last score that makes the difference. You want four strong scores.”
Crown Point earned the final spot in next Friday’s regional meet with a third-place team score of 108.775. The trio of freshman Hannah Best (36.775 all-around), junior Natale Groff (36.050) and senior Megan Supan (35.725) paced the Bulldogs.
“This was our goal at the beginning of the year,” Crown Point coach Ami Pysh said. “Some other teams had trouble and we just capitalized.”
Morgan Township freshman Kylee Maxwell advanced to regionals as an all-around individual qualifier, posting a score of 37.55.
“It was a bit scary,” Maxwell said of competing in front of the large crowd at Chesterton. “I started calming down after my vault. It was important for me to just get through it and push forward to the next one.”
Also qualifying for regionals were: Chesterton’s Brandi Tuzinski (floor and bars), Merrillville’s Kristina Goodman (floor) and Taylor Woods (beam), Washington Township’s Cassidy Feldsien (beam) and Michigan City’s Ashley Koza (bars).