Seymour hopes to advance out of gymnastics regional


Going into the final event of the Columbus East Sectional, Seymour’s gymnastics team trailed Owen Valley by six-tenths of a point.

With just a few routines remaining, a final qualifying position was on the line.

Instead of folding under pressure, the Owls came through when it mattered most.

Seymour made the comeback at East, bumping up to third place with a score of 104.375, which advanced them to Saturday’s Connersville Regional.

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The last time the Owls went to regional as a squad was in 2013. In 2012, the Owls won the sectional and regional at East before placing fifth at the state meet, which was the team’s only appearance on the biggest stage.

At Friday’s sectional, East won with a score of 112.350 points, while Columbus North was runner-up at 109.775.

Seymour junior Avery DeHart placed sixth in the all-around (36.025 points) and senior Kellsye Warner (35.475) finished eighth to pace the Owls’ scoring.

In the final rotation, trailing the Patriots, Warner’s 9.4 points, DeHart’s 9.375 and Nicole Elmore’s 8.65 gave Seymour a 27.425 on the floor and its berth to the regional.

“We’ve really been pushing each other to do our best,” DeHart said. “I think we’ve really grown as a team and created a bond. I think that has pushed us to better ourselves.”

While Warner has competed in the regional in the past, she said it means a lot to have her teammates going with her this time around.

“It’s very exciting,” Warner said. “I’m very happy to be able to experience it with all of my teammates this year. It has been a long time since the team has gone to regional. I’m just hoping that we get to go to state.”

Owen Valley fell just outside the top three at sectional with 102.950 points.

The Connersville Sectional will feed into the regional with East, North and Seymour. On Saturday, Richmond (102.425 points), Connersville (100.975) and New Castle (100.075) made it out as teams in the Connersville Sectional.

“We really are in the second-toughest sectional in the state,” Owls coach Angie Mellencamp said. “We knew that going in. These kids all year have had a no-quit attitude. Every single week, they’ve come in here and gone after new skills. As soon as they have those new skills, they put them into competition.

“That’s the kind of attitude you need to have to get out of the sectional,” she said. “We have East and North scoring 110s and 112s. Then you have Owen Valley, who are just as good as us depending on the day. We were six-tenths behind going into the last event at sectional. The girls knew that but didn’t give up or quit. They executed their floor routines and nailed it.”

Going into the regional, Seymour has the third-highest score out of the sectional teams advancing, which again would prove the final qualifier for the next round of the postseason.

“We just had a team meeting (Monday), and the girls are still pretty determined to work hard this week,” Mellencamp said. “If they hit, they will probably be a team advancing to state. At the same time, that doesn’t give us any room to slack off at all. If we don’t hit, we could give the opportunity away very easily. We will have to work for our spot to make it to the state meet.

“I think that within reason, we should easily be a 105.5 (points) as long as we hit,” she said. “We would have been at that score this week had we not had some falls on the vault. I think 105 is completely within reason.”

While the Spartan Bowl is a new venue to the Owls, they feel comfortable going into new surroundings.

“It’s a little nerve-racking because neither I nor the girls have been to this gym before,” Mellencamp said. “We aren’t familiar with the equipment, but at the same time, if we make it to the state meet, it will be the same thing. A lot of the girls have never been there. Luckily, we’ve traveled quite a bit this season, so the girls are used to being on the road.”

Elmore said if the team hits, they will continue to have success in the postseason.

“I think that it was really the added practices and not letting the fear get to us that has made us better,” she said. “We went out there and did the best we could (at sectional). I think if we work hard, it should pay off. We should aim higher than (the score) at sectional.”

Mellencamp said it would mean a lot to numerous people should the Owls advance to state.

“We have a lot of ‘littles’ that look up to our gymnasts every single week, not only at Gymnastics Lane but in the community,” Mellencamp said. “I’ve talked to the girls a lot about being role models and knowing that little eyes are on them at all points in time.

“I want them to make sure that with whatever they’re doing, they’re making the community proud,” she said. “I think it’s a big deal. I think it’s a huge deal, and I hope they’re taking it all in. I’ve explained to them that they would be the second team in SHS history to make it. To me, that puts their names in the history books as far as athletics go at Seymour and the gymnastics program.”

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What: High school gymnastics regional

When: 11 a.m. Saturday

Where: Connersville High School, 100 Spartan Drive, Connersville

Who: Seymour High School’s gymnastics team will be among the competitors

Admission: $7

Advancement: The top six place winners in each event advance to the state finals March 10 at Ball State University in Muncie; the top six place winners in the all-around competition advance to the state finals; all gymnasts who receive the score of the sixth-place gymnast at the previous state finals meet advance to the state finals (vault: 9.500; bars: 9.550; beam: 9.225; floor exercise: 9.450; all-around: 37.325); the top three teams compiling the highest number of points at each regional will advance as a team to the state finals; individual ties for advancement of the last position in the tournament series shall stand.


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