A new-look gymnastics postseason means more teams advancing from the regional but in some ways fewer opportunities for individual advancement.
There are fewer regional sites and the field at Huntington North will look different with teams coming from the Wawasee Sectional, taking the place of the defunct Muncie Central Sectional.
But only one more team will advance to the state finals and the number of individuals in each event will remain at the top six.
It depends on what year it is, Carroll coach Rosemary Scheele said of the effects of the IHSAA changes. There are other schools coming in from the other sectional coming in. There is some individual talent. It makes more kids there to eliminate some spots for (other) individuals than the teams. There are some strong individual athletes coming from the Wawasee Sectional into our regional that normally wouldn’t be there.
The change was brought on by the reduction of sectionals around the state from eight to six. At the regional level, there will be only three sites, instead of four. It meant some teams that were in the old Muncie Central Sectional came up to the Concordia Sectional.
Scheele said every year can be different whether there are more loaded teams or outstanding individuals at the regional. This year might be a case of more overall individual depth in the four events – all-around, balance beam, uneven bars and floor exercise.
Dwenger, which holds the record for most consecutive regional titles with 10 from 2000-09, has won the last three regional titles and is a heavy favorite to win this year with Carroll a solid second. The race could be for third.
The No. 9 Chargers finished runner-up at the Concordia Sectional to the No. 2 Saints, 112.200-106.775. Jay County was third with 102.175. Both Dwenger and Carroll set season-bests team scores at the sectional. No. 14 DeKalb won the Wawasee Sectional with 103.725.
There’s obviously more of an opportunity for another team, Scheele said. For me, it is the same approach.
It becomes a time of simplicity and consistency for the Chargers.
I am not one to try new tricks at a sectional because the girls get too nervous and they are not confident with them, and I want them to be confident, Scheele said.
It will also be much of the same for the Saints, who finished third at the state meet last year.
Now we just do strictly routines because before we were maybe tweaking a skill here or there, Dwenger coach Rose Nix said. They go in there and get their job done, and they go.
We try not to overwork them to keep their bodies healthy, but we like them to keep their routines on game.