Even though the district meet is a little more than a week away, a couple area gymnastics teams are already primed for a big push in the postseason.
The Mason Comets remain undefeated after winning the Hamilton Invitational with 140.1 points. They lead the crop of local teams that could have a big impact in the playoffs.
“We’re excited about the postseason,” Mason head coach Denise DeLotell said. “We expect to have four athletes place in the top six at state.”
For that to happen, DeLotell said the team, which didn’t have a fall scored at the Hamilton Invitational Feb. 8, needs to have seniors Gabby Sora, Crystal Kratzer, Nina Tavernier and a fourth gymnast post high scores.
Sora and Kratzer, DeLotell said, have been tremendous in all-around, but the Comets have gotten contributions from other girls on the squad. Their success has been crucial to the team because not every girl competes in every event.
“Without the other kids, none of this would matter,” she said.
Lakota East is another local team that has high expectations, but the Thunderhawks have to get and remain healthy.
Sophomore Kiley Lovejoy, one of the team’s top gymnasts, has been dealing with an ankle injury and it’s taken longer than expected for her to return. Teammate Kelleen Legge has been hampered by a knee injury. She has been cleared, she is just taking the time to work her way back.
Callie Gnam, another top gymnast on the team, has been top three in most of the events co-head coach Mardi Dagley said.
“If we get healthy, we have the potential,” she said.
Even though it graduated plenty of seniors from last year’s team, Oak Hills was predicted to be one of the better teams in the area. The Highlanders had high finishes, taking third in their first home meet and finishing in eighth out of 22 teams at the Elk Invitational in Centerville Jan. 24.
Natalia Johnson, Mckenzey Kleinholz and Alyssa McCarthy have been key contributors for the Highlanders this season.
“It’s been difficult with all the injuries, but our freshmen and sophomores have stepped up,” Highlanders head coach Kristin Perica said. “We’ve been working on upgrades to our routines and we look forward to the city and district meets.
“We want to finish strong as a team.”
Other teams that expected to be competing come March include Anderson, Cincinnati Country Day and Turpin.
The Indians brought back an experienced group led by seniors senior Kaitlin Harden, Jennifer Gonzales and Gusty Pohlman.
CCD has a couple third-place finishes to its credit and finished in seventh place at the Hamilton Invitational. The Indians host the city championships Feb. 21.
Head coach Steve Conner said before the season that the team’s goal was to be among the top five teams in the city. He could not be reached for comment last week.
The Redskins and Spartans saw what they needed to do to improve following the Flip Fest. The “Gymskins” finished in fifth place overall and Spartans’ head coach Gail Maundrell said “it was not one of our best meets.”
Anderson’s senior captain Emily Caggiano placed in the vault, beam, bars and was fourth in the all-around competition.
Turpin finished third in the Hamilton Invitational and posted a season-best team score of 128.275. Junior Haley Witherell won the floor exercise with a personal best of 9.2 , took second on beam and bars with scores of 8.9 and 8.775, respectively.
She took third place in the all-around with another personal best of 35.025.
Mercy’s Kiki Carle, Seton’s Nina Wurzelbacher and Sycamore’s Molly Gearin all were predicted be among the top individuals in the city.
“She’s placed in the floor exercise at a lot of meets and has a chance to qualify for state on the floor and beam,” Perica said of Wurzelbacher. “As for Kiki, she has been one of my most consistent gymnasts and also has a chance to qualify on floor and beam.”
The OHSAA district meet is Feb. 28.