Owls headed to state


Going into the Connersville Regional, Seymour’s gymnastics team had one goal: survive and advance.

While it came down to a nail-biting final round of scores, the Owls accomplished their mission.

Tomorrow, the Owls will compete in the state finals at a team, at Ball State’s Worthen Arena, for just the second time in school history.

At the regional, the Owls had to bounce back from a rough bar routine to secure the third, and final, qualifying spot for state.

Seymour scored 22.475 on the bars before putting up 27.025 on the beam.

With their routines complete, the Owls played the waiting game.

“It was nerve-racking on Saturday,” Owls coach Angie Mellencamp said. “It was a great meet, but the girls had a really rough bar set. Coming off our third event, I was unsure whether we would make it out. It came down to whether or not we hit beam, and how Connersville did on floor. Luckily, our girls hit on beam. We had finished the competition, and were waiting on Connersville’s scores to come in.

“It was a good meet, but the girls are capable of doing a lot more. Unfortunately we just had a bar set where we didn’t execute all of our skills. We know what set we’re going to have for the state meet and now our eyes are forward.”

The Owls finished in third place with 102.050 points, edging Richmond (101.650) and Connersville (101.600). Columbus North were champions with 112.175 while cross-town rivals East were runners-up (111.325).

The last — and only — time the Owls went to state was in 2012 when they placed fifth overall with 107.425 points.

Once the Owls knew they were in, they loosened up.

“On the bus ride home, we were talking about the meet and what went right and wrong. You could tell it was just a sense of relief,” Mellencamp said. “Our goal was to make it to state this year. No matter what we do this weekend, these girls have gone above and beyond their call of duty. I think they’ve done more than even what they thought they could themselves.”

With the pressure off their shoulders, the Owls hope to set a new school record for points in a competition at state.

“This weekend we would like to place top-5, and we’ve set a goal to set the school record (107.65),” Mellencamp said. “If they hit that school record, that would be the greatest end to our season. We’ve come close to (the school record) a couple times this year, and we’re capable of doing it.”

At practices, the Owls have kept it light.

“We have really enjoyed our practices this week,” Mellencamp said. “The girls have some fun, unique ideas to put into their routines and I’m OK with it. We’ve made it to state, and there’s no pressure. We can go out there and have fun with the sport.”

Looking at some of the other teams coming into state, the Owls hope to finish inside the top five out of 12 teams.

No. 2 Valparasio is the defending state champion, winnings its third state title in four years and state-leading 12th a year ago.

Chesteron is the favorite to win and Columbus East is ranked No. 3.

“We don’t want to base it off tournament scores because our regional score was the worst of the tournament,” Mellencamp said. “If you rank us where we’re usually at we are fifth or sixth. If you look at regional scores, it would be seven or eight.”

At state, Mellencamp said she expects a nice crowd sporting the purple and white.

“It’s a good feeling to go into an event this big and have so many from the community supporting us,” Mellencamp said.  “Lots of the littles (from Gymnastics Lane) have asked their parents if they can go and parents are coordinating rides. It gives those little athletes something to look forward to and shoot for one day. The administration at the (high school) has been so great. Some of the admin are coming up, they are going to be so busy with the basketball regional but are coming up to support us.”

Today, the high school will have a grand sendoff for its state-bound athletes.

The gymnasts will ride a firetruck, and parade in front of the student body at 1:45 p.m. before getting a police escort out of town.

“It’s nice to get that recognition,” Mellencamp said. “We’re a smaller sport, and it’s easy for us to get covered up by the bigger sports at the school. It’s a big deal the school is taking the time to recognize the girls.”

The girls will get a chance to practice at Worthen Arena tonight before Saturday’s competition. Opening ceremonies will commence at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday before the meet starts at 1 p.m.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

WHO: Seymour High School Gymnastics

WHAT: 2018 State Finals

WHERE: Worthen Arena, Ball State University

WHEN: Tomorrow, 12:30 p.m.

COST: $6 admission, $5 parking



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