For The Tribune
The Seymour gymnasts didn’t qualify for regional as a team out of Friday night’s Columbus East Sectional, but the Owls did advance three individuals with top-six finishes in an event.
“It is a silver lining,” Seymour coach Angie Mellencamp said. “All three girls are seniors, and I just don’t think they were done yet, so I am glad that we get another week with them in the gym.”
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The Owls finished fifth as a team with a 100.6 team score. Seventh-ranked Columbus North (111.4), Owen Valley (103.85) and host East (103.225) move on to regional.
Seymour had the fourth-best team score coming into the meet.
“We took some extra falls on beam tonight that we don’t usually, but we did put in some extra bonus just to see if we would hit,” Mellencamp said. “It’s always disappointing when you the opportunity could be there, but the kids did show up tonight and compete. We changed the lineup a little bit, and I don’t think it necessarily hurt us. We just didn’t have the scores the other teams had tonight.”
The Owls advanced a pair of gymnasts on the bars. Avery DeHart finished fourth with an 8.875, and Brett Kleber placed sixth with an 8.65.
“All of us being seniors, it definitely is a bittersweet moment because going into the meet, we probably didn’t have our best mindset,” DeHart said. “Once we got to bars and floor, we were more positive about the meet. We were setting ourselves up for the worst, and then when they called our names (during the awards ceremony), tears were there. But it was a good feeling to know that we’re able to spend time with each other for another week and compete another time.”
“It was very bittersweet knowing the work we put into it and how hard we tried,” Kleber said. “It’s great that we get to do it. Our biggest thing that we did going into this meet was being positive about everything we did.”
Elmore qualified after tying for sixth on the floor with a 9.3.
“I think it was very surreal,” Elmore said. “We were kind of not expecting it, and we put in a lot of extra skills, and it paid off.”
The regional berth is the second in as many winter sports for Kleber. She took up diving this year and advanced to the Bloomington North Regional earlier this month.
“It was a lot, but having teammates help you and doing the same workouts and having them push you through it and coaches understanding and working around schedules, it was fun,” Kleber said.
The trio of Owls will compete in the Columbus East Regional, which will be at 7 p.m. Friday. The top six in each event qualify for state.
“I think for the most part, we’re just going to clean up our routines and maybe add in a little bit of bonus,” DeHart said. “But for the most part, we’re just going to keep to what we did this week and clean it up and try to do our best.”