Jarrod Ulrey reports:
After losing five seniors from the team that finished fourth at the state team gymnastics meet a year ago, Mason did its best to compete like veterans Friday at Bradley.
One thing the Comets did to simulate what it would be like to perform on the beam at the same time that Brecksville-Broadview Heights would be competing on the floor exercise to begin the meet was turn up the music to its loudest and have teammates and other onlookers scream during a recent practice.
It helped, as a younger Comets team put together a strong showing in the beam and a fifth-place finish overall that was just .325 points away from duplicating last year’s finish.
“We were on the same routine as Brecksville, and they’re always really loud,” coach Kelly Wones said. “We graduated five from last year, so we have a really young team and for the most part they did well. We turned up the music as loud as it would go (during practice) and it really helped them for sure.”
Mason scored 138.800 to place fifth in the 12-team state meet. Brecksville-Broadview Heights won the championship with 148.325.
The Comets’ top scores came on vault (35.350) and floor (35.050), and it also recorded a 34.425 on beam.
Sophomore Gabrielle Sora finished with 9.025, followed by junior Brooke Middleton (9.0), junior Audrey Harpen (8.925), senior Maggie Fewell (8.4) and sophomore Nina Tavernier (8.3) on vault.
Sora also had the best score on beam (9.125), followed by Harpen (8.65) and Middleton (8.55). On floor, Harpen recorded an 8.95, followed by Sora (8.925) and Middleton (8.675).
“We’re like a new team this year because we have a lot of new girls,” Middleton said. “I’m happy with fifth. We’ll take it. We’ve overcome a lot on beam this year. At the beginning of the season, all of us would fall all the time. We only had one fall tonight and that shows a lot. We’ve worked hard.”
It marked the final state team meet for seniors Kelly Schweppe and Fewell. Fewell competed on vault and bars and Schweppe competed on floor and beam.
Mason has competed at state each of the past four seasons.
“We were actually talking about (making it four years in a row) today,” Fewell said. “More people in our high school know about gymnastics now. We’re definitely peaking at the right time.”
Said Wones: “Last year we got fourth so we were hoping to get that again. We had a couple mistakes today. It’s bittersweet to come back and do well but to know that we could have done better.”