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State finals
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Ball State, Muncie
Admission: $9
Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Angola’s Alex Nickel will compete for the all-around title at the state championship Saturday in Muncie.

Depth defines defending gymnastics champ Saints

– Junior Katy Linvill is the only member of the Bishop Dwenger gymnastics team to participate in the all-around competition – that is, taking part in all four events – and it’s made her oddly appreciative of the daily rigors of practice.

“I like practice because I don’t have to spend all three hours working on only one or two events like some of my teammates,” Linvill said.

The Saints, who will attempt to repeat as state champions Saturday in Muncie, are a bit of an oddity in that they have so many specialists and only one, Linvill, chasing the all-around title.

Linvill was third in the state finals last year with a total score of 37.575, behind Valparaiso’s Morgan Algozine (38.75) and Angola’s Alex Nickel (38), both of whom will also compete again at Worthen Arena.

Coach Rosemarie Nix’s use of different athletes on different apparatuses doesn’t show a lack of faith in her gymnasts; it’s a testament to the Saints’ depth.

“We actually have nine girls (usually) competing because we have so many specialists this year,” said Nix, whose Saints totaled 112.550 to win last year’s state title.

“We have one all-arounder and three girls that do one event. We have a lot of specialists. It’s kind of nice because we’re pretty deep this year.”

Bishop Dwenger has won five state team championships, behind only Valparaiso (nine) and Homestead (six). Nix’s five titles are second only to the nine of Valparaiso’s Lorie Cook.

The Saints won the Concordia Sectional on Feb. 28 with a 109.075, led by Linvill’s winning 36.1 in the all-around. They won the Huntington North Regional on March 8 with a 111.650, and Linvill won again with a 38.125.

She placed first on the balance beam (9.825), in floor exercises (9.5) and on the uneven bars (9.25). She placed second on the vault with a 9.55, wedged between teammates Kaitlyn Coffee (9.6) and Maria Trahin (9.4).

On beam, Dwenger’s Alexis Eddy placed fifth (9.05), Anne-Therese Poinsatte was eighth (8.9) and Alena Chilian was 11th (8.75). In floor, Coffee was second (9.425), Eddy was fourth (8.95) and Andrea Nix was 10th (8.6). On bars, Andrea Nix finished fourth on the bars (9.0) and Cecilia Sordelet took seventh (8.55). And Grace Gillig took 10th on vault (9.05).

With so much talent, Dwenger isn’t affected by injuries as much as the typical team, because they can use substitutes.

“We feel really confident in how we’re doing. We don’t feel too much pressure, just confidence about how we can perform,” said Linvill, whose team edged Valparaiso by only .575 of a point last year for the state title.

Homestead will also compete, after its second-place finish at Huntington North with a score of 103.9. Spartans junior Morgan Hardwick finished third in the all-around with a 35.475, behind Jay County’s Katie Snyder (35.75).

Nickel took third place at Valparaiso Regional with a 37.7, but Angola didn’t advance as a team because of its fourth-place finish. Algozine won that regional with a 39.05 in the all-around, followed by Portage’s Mackenzie Barcelli (38.025).

Linvill and Nickel, the defending state champion on beam and bars, are vying to become the first all-around champion from northeast Indiana since Dwenger’s Jeanna Van Hoey in 2005.

jcohn@jg.net

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