Owls seniors prep for regional competition

While the team won’t advance to the state finals for a second straight year, Avery DeHart, Nicole Elmore and Brett Kleber don’t plan on ending their seasons any time soon.

The three Seymour High School seniors will each compete in an event at the Columbus East Regional on Friday.

At last weekend’s sectional, which also was hosted by East, DeHart finished fourth on the bars with a score of 8.875 and Kleber took sixth at 8.650. Elmore’s score of 9.300 placed sixth for the floor.

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“We are thrilled that our seniors made it,” Owls coach Angie Mellencamp said.

The top-six placers in each event at the regional advance to the state finals next weekend at Noblesville High School.

Kleber feels confident going into the regional.

“Bars, for me, is my favorite event,” she said. “It comes to me more natural than any other event. My bail, getting my feet in front of me instead of behind, will be a big part of it. It will be the execution, just the little things.

“(East) probably has my favorite bars. I don’t know if it’s just because of the number of people that use them or the way the chalk is nicely laid out on the bar. There is something about it that just has a different feeling.”

DeHart, who has been battling an ankle injury for most of the season, also is laser-focused on making a return to state.

“I’m feeling pretty confident. We looked at the scores, and we are placed pretty high,” she said. “If we do what we did at sectional, I think I will be pretty good. Of course, I want to go in and do other events, but it’s nice to just focus on one. I won’t have to stress about other events before competing.”

On the floor, Elmore aims to get out by beating her personal-best score of 9.350.

“I hope to kind of do what we’ve been doing all season. We just need to stick as much as we can and get bonus,” she said. “We are working to see what’s there and what’s not. We are trying to put in a few things, but it will pretty much be the same.”

The Connersville Sectional feeds into the event, and the three Owls are each seeded in the top 10 for their events entering the regional.

Judging by last week’s scores, the Owls should feel good going into the meet.

On the bars at Connersville, the top four scores were 8.300, 8.525, 8.875 and 9.325. The highest sectional score for the floor was 9.175.

“Honestly, going into the regional, we’ve checked the scores,” Mellencamp said. “As long as they do what they did last weekend, they’re going to get through based on the scores. They are sitting pretty as far as placing. All three have a great chance at making it to state. They can rely on their past experience. They know what they are going into and what they need to do to get to state.”

Mellencamp said she’s confident in her girls’ routines.

“We’re not going to change a whole lot,” she said. “We want to clean up and pick up as many points as we can. Their routines are good. They have all the bonus the need. They just need to hit and be clean. That’s really the difference. They have the difficultly and skills.”