Gymnastics state follow-up: Portage breaks the jinx
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent March 17, 2013 5:46PM
Madison Kurtz| hugs coach Karen Barcelli during the IHSAA gymnastics state finals at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind. Saturday March 16, 2013. | Taylor Irby~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 29, 2013 4:03PM
MUNCIE — A thought lingered in the back of the mind of Portage senior Mackenzie Barcelli during Saturday’s Gymnastics State Finals, one that was far from comforting.
“Each year, I’ve fallen on a different event (at state),” she said, before reeling off the events one by one: vault in her freshman year, floor in her sophomore year and then the beam last year. “There was only one event left for this year and I thought: “Oh no, I’m going to fall on bars this year.’”
The rotations weren’t any kinder to Barcelli, with bars as the final event of the day. With Portage set near the end of that final rotation, the Indians were among the final competitors of the day with Barcelli as the anchor.
“It was the last event of the day, and she was the last one to go so ... no pressure there,” Portage head coach Karen Barcelli — also Mackenzie’s mother — said with a laugh.
After Valparaiso completed its beam routine, Portage was exactly 27 points behind its DAC rivals. In the previous two meets, Portage had managed team scores of 26.9 and 27.025 on bars.
“Valparaiso got three nines on beam, which was better than we’d done on bars all season,” Barcelli said.
After Danielle Solis was awarded an 8.35, Karen Barcelli borrowed a pen from press row and frantically did math on her hand.
“I’d thought they each needed to get 9.45,” she said. Her rushed calculations came close, as a pair of 9.35 scores was all Portage needed to overcome the remaining 18.65-point gap. Sophomore Madison Kurtz rose to the challenge, receiving a 9.5—the fifth-best score of the day on bars.
“Madison’s routine was just awesome,” added Karen Barcelli.
Mackenzie’s routine was better.
“When she was going into her dismount she whacked her heels (on the lower bar) and I thought: ‘Oh, no.’ That could’ve been the deciding one or two-tenths right there,” Karen Barcelli recalled. “She had a beautiful routine besides that, so apparently it didn’t make a difference. I think the whole team was just excited because Mackenzie didn’t fall off of the bars. Before the event, she went and told everyone what they needed to do and, for her, it was just to stay on the bars.”
The judges scored the routine at 9.65, giving Portage the team championship.