A theory exists in sports that are judged that it is better to go near the beginning than the end.
For that reason, Seymour junior gymnast Kellsye Warner had a little advantage in that she was the fourth out of 32 competitors on the balance beam in Friday night’s Columbus East Regional.
Warner put up a 9.325 and then watched gymnast after gymnast fall short of that mark. Not until the final rotation, when two girls from second-ranked Columbus North passed her, did anyone top that mark.
“I think going first is better because I didn’t watch people fall before me and let it get in my head,” Warner said.
The third-place finish qualified Warner for her first state finals. The top six in each event and the all-around advanced to the March 11 state meet at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.
Columbus North’s Claire Thompson, the defending state champion on the beam, won the event with a 9.725. Her teammate, Ashley Holliday, took second with a 9.4 to help the Bull Dogs to the regional team title.
“I felt like I had a good chance,” Warner said. “My practices this week were really good, and the competition was good. It’s a new experience for me and an opportunity to represent my team at the state meet.”
Warner was the Owls’ lone competitor in the regional. She also qualified as an individual last year, but that was on the floor exercise.
As was the case then, Warner was able to focus on one event all week.
“I think it’s easier because I’m not as stressed out about doing all four events,” she said.
Warner’s personal-best on the beam is a 9.55.
This week, Warner added a back-handspring to her beam routine. She felt like she had fewer wobbles than in the sectional.
“I’m proud of her,” Seymour coach Angie Mellencamp said. “Coming in tonight, the biggest thing was just for her to have a hit set because if she has a fall, it’s automatically going to knock her out. But she hit everything she could to get out tonight.”