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High School Gymnastics

Medina gets top seed in GCC tournament

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MEDINA — A terrific regular season by the Medina gymnastics team has gotten even better.

The undefeated Bees have been awarded the top seed at the Greater Cleveland Conference Meet, which they will host Monday night.

Though dual meets count one-half toward the overall GCC championship, none of the schools bothered to schedule competitions against all of their league foes, forcing athletic directors into a bind.

Their solution — and realistically, their only option — was to create the missing meets by using invitational scores from same-day events.

Medina, which went 3-0 in duals that actually took place, was awarded wins over Mentor and Brunswick based on their scores in different flights at “Flip For the Cure” in North Ridgeville. The Blue Devils and Cardinals only had a handful of gymnasts at the Dec. 8 event.

“Obviously, Brunswick will come in at a completely different strength at the GCC than earlier in the year,” Bees coach Darcy Ranallo said. “The same with Mentor. I’m just glad that we were able to compete against Solon, Strongsville and Shaker Heights during the season, since a lot of teams didn’t get that many league meets in.”

Medina (5-0) and Mentor (4-1) will be the top two seeds at the GCC Meet, while Brunswick, Strongsville or Solon could wind up third, pending the results of action tonight. Shaker Heights (0-5) will round out the field after Elyria formally withdrew from competing four days ago.

A much more accurate set of standings would have been produced had the Ron Ganim Legends Invitational taken place on Jan. 19. All six teams were slated to take part in the prestigious event at Brecksville, but it was snowed out.

“Brunswick and Mentor are definitely the teams to beat,” Bees sophomore Addison Kasian said. “We’ve done really well against Solon both times we’ve gone against them, but they’ll be tough, too. It’s going to be a fun meet.”

Podium quest

The North East Gymnastics Conference did complete its round-robin dual schedule, which was claimed by Wooster by one game over defending champion Wadsworth.

The NEGC Winter Classic, which determines the individual medalists for the league, takes place Thursday at the YMCA Gymnastics Center in Wooster.

Jensen Heppner, Mackenna Blackburn, Emilee Loparo, Alyssa Talabac and Bella Thompson of the Grizzlies will be factors in multiple events, along with Ashley Sigmon of Cloverleaf.

Loparo explained that Wadsworth’s goals are two-fold at the meet, where it must balance a desire to reach the podium with practicing higher skills in advance of the West Geauga Sectional on Feb. 16.

“We’re throwing a lot of upgrades in, so we’ll be working out any problems we can at the NEGC,” the sophomore said. “Teams had better watch out for Wadsworth at sectionals because we’re coming for them.”

Double duty

Many Medina County gymnasts participate in track each spring, but few have managed the two-sport combinations that Allie Mazzaro and Melinda Thielenhaus are pulling off this fall and winter.

Senior Mazzaro was the starting goalkeeper for Highland’s girls soccer team, while sophomore Thielenhaus played middle hitter for Cloverleaf’s volleyball team.

Mazzaro, who qualified for the 2018 OHSAA state gymnastics meet, scored a career-high 33.8 in the all-around at the SL Meet last weekend.

Thielenhaus used her high level of athleticism to establish career bests in the all-around, vault and floor exercise in January.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com. Follow him @BrianDulik on Twitter.
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