HUNTINGTON – The move from a regional at Valparaiso to one at Huntington North turned out to be a good one for Hamilton’s Alex Cool and Angola’s Alex Nickel.
Both seniors, Cool won the all-around title with a 37.875, while Nickel was third with a 37.075.
The gymnasts competed in Valparaiso last year, but because of IHSAA postseason reorganization, they came to Huntington this year.
Cool was fourth last year at the Valpo Regional.
I am glad we made the switch because I knew I had a better chance here, Cool said. It’s amazing. I really needed it after my sectional. I didn’t have the best time, and this really helps me. I had to work on my confidence and my mental attitude toward everything (after the sectional) and regain my confidence in everything.
Cool won the vault (9.550) and beam (9.450).
Before I went on beam, I thought about it, but then I just pushed it out of my mind because I wanted to finish strong and not worry about that and do my personal best, Cool said. Floor to start out was really good. I did that really well, and that’s what pushed me the rest of the way through.
Nickel won the bars (9.625) and floor exercise (9.575). She was also third in the all-around last year.
The Valpo Regional is a little tougher because there are higher-ranked teams there, Nickel said.
Nickel was the all-around state runner-up the last two years but has battled some ailments this year.
It wasn’t my best day, but state is where it counts. It was very uncharacteristic for me to fall twice on the beam, Nickel said. I am just going to train hard this week and make up for it at state.
I just have to work on consistency. I knew that would be the issue since I haven’t gotten to compete a lot.
Second-ranked Bishop Dwenger won the team title with 110.850. No. 9 Carroll was second with a 104.225. Jay County was the third and final advancing team to state with 101.950.
The Saints won last week’s Concordia Sectional with a 112.200.
They are gaining confidence, Dwenger coach Rose Nix said.
We had a couple of falls tonight, and they have been trying to improve upon their skills. On the whole, we did a really good job. We had a couple of falls, but better this week than next week.
At first when they combined (the sectionals), I was like, whoa. But it is good for the sport. There were a lot of people here.
The Saints were led by the second-place all-around of Maria Trahin (37.700) and fourth place of Katy Linvill (36.725).
Trahin was second on vault (9.450) and beam (9.325), third on bars (9.550) and fourth on floor (9.375).
Linvill was second on bars (9.575) and floor (9.500), 11th on beam (8.650) and 16th on vault (9.000).
No. 14 DeKalb finished fourth with a 101.725, Lakeland was fifth with 98.525 and Elkhart Central was sixth with 97.025.