HUNTINGTON – At a regional meet full of falls, slips and redemptive performances, Carroll avoided the major mistakes costing other teams and claimed its second straight gymnastics regional title Saturday afternoon.
Senior Ashelynn Steinke said the Chargers got all of their slip-ups out of their system at last week's sectional meet, where Carroll finished second.
"We knew that this week, we had to bring it back, and we did," said Steinke, who finished second in the all-around. "We fell at sectionals, and it was out. That was one thing our coaches said to us, that's it. That's all of our nerves. We're good for regionals, we got it all out."
Carroll won with 107.750, beating Concordia sectional winner Homestead by 1.750 points. Angola finished with 104.900 points to take third place and advance to the state meet.
Homestead senior Catherine Milne won on both the bars and the floor routine to win the all-around title with 37.025 points, beating Steinke by 0.55. Carroll's Ella Smith was third with 36.375 and Angola's Ashtyn Evans was fourth with 35.425.
The Chargers started the meet on beam, the event that caused them the most heartache last week. But this time, Carroll gymnasts finished first, second, sixth and eighth on the apparatus.
"We were more confident on beam," said Steinke, who won the event with a score of 9.375. "Last week, we started and we all fell. This week, we hit every routine. We had some bobbles here and there, but we were nervous, first up to go. So that was definitely big for us."
But the beam did claim other victims, including Homestead's Yana Weir, who placed fifth on the beam at the state meet this year and won the event at sectionals last week. She slipped off the beam and finished in 12th place.
Wayne's Erica Xayarath was nearly inconsolable after falling off the beam during the second rotation, worried that it would cost her the chance to advance to the state meet in the all-around. But her floor routine scored well, despite a technical hiccup that caused the music to cut out during the middle of her performance, and her fourth-place vault was enough to earn her fifth place in the all-around and a ticket to next week's state meet at Noblesville High School.
Bishop Dwenger's Emma Doyle endured a disastrous start on the floor routine, hitting her face on her knee on her first tumbling pass, and was unable to complete the event. But she rebounded, sticking her second vault to take third in the event with a score of 9.500. She also placed fourth in the beam at 9.275.
Even DeKalb's Shiloh Miller, who defended her regional title on the vault, needed a second chance to hit her Tsukahara layout.
"The first vault I fell on today, and I was just like, this is my senior year, I want to go out with a bang. I have to pull my crap together and make it happen," Miller recounted.
Miller, who finished sixth in the all-around, said she was worried even after sticking her second vault.
"Every time, even last year, I'm like, was that a layout? Was that a layout?" Miller said. "I didn't even think I did the right skill. But apparently I did."