FORT WAYNE – More than a decade ago, Homestead was arguably the premier gymnastics program in northeast Indiana and possibly the state. The past 11 years have brought some tough times and coaching changes for the program.
So does a second-place finish at the Concordia Sectional last Saturday signal a turnaround for the Spartans heading into tonights Huntington North Regional?
A lot of people were surprised by us this year just because a lot of teams have a name, and we havent had that in 11 years, Homestead junior Megan Eggebrecht said. I dont think a lot of teams expected us to be going as far as we are going this year.
Homestead has six state championships with the last one coming in 2001, also the last of 11 state finals appearances. The six state titles are No. 2 in state history behind Valparaisos nine, while the state appearances are the seventh-most in state history.
The season started off strong and, as with any sport, had its peaks and valleys throughout the season, Homestead coach Ryan Gorndt said. (The team) has now hit their stride and welcomes the challenges that await them in the postseason.
These young ladies know that due to their hard work, determination, and their ability to rely on each other they have become a solid competitive team. We are fortunate in knowing that as we proceed through the postseason we are able to walk away from every meet knowing that, as a team, we gave 100 percent.
The Spartans finished second to Bishop Dwenger at the sectional, scoring 103.450 to the Saints 109.950. Homestead beat out NHC rival Carroll, which finished third with a 103.325.
We were trying all season to beat Carroll, and we hadnt yet, Eggebrecht said. At sectionals, we just tried our best and finally beat them, so we were really happy.
Eggebrecht and sophomore Morgan Stinson finished fifth and sixth, respectively in the all-around with 35.375 and 34.200 scores. Sophomore Morgan Hardwick (32.975) was ninth and freshman Taylor Ross (32.700) was 11th.
A year ago, Homestead finished fifth at the sectional with a 98.200.
We worked a lot harder over the summer because we knew this team could be a lot better this year, Eggebrecht said.
Only the top two teams out of the regional will advance to the state finals March 17 in Muncie.
We are hoping to get second and beat Carroll and Huntington North, Eggebrecht said. If we can beat them, we will be really, really happy. Making it to state would be a big accomplishment for us.