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High School Gymnastics

Brunswick's Jordyn Thomas, Anna Taylor qualify to state meet

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CHESTERLAND — Jordyn Thomas is heading back to the state gymnastics meet for the second straight season. This time, one of her Brunswick teammates will be joining her.

Super sophomore Thomas was the runner-up in the all-around with a career-high 37.2 — finishing fourth on the vault, uneven parallel bars and balance beam — to earn the maximum five state berths Saturday at the West Geauga District.

Blue Devils freshman Anna Taylor also punched her ticket to the March 2 meet at Hilliard Bradley by placing 11th on the vault with a 9.1. They were the only Medina County athletes to qualify out of the toughest district in Ohio.

“I am really happy for Anna and I’m happy for myself because I’ll have someone to support at state this year,” Thomas said. “Obviously, I wish our entire team would have made it, but we will be proud to be representing Brunswick gymnastics at the meet.”

Thomas is the first local gymnast to advance in every event since Cloverleaf’s Maddie Brandt in 2014. She qualified in the all-around, vault, bars, beam and floor exercise as a freshman, becoming the school’s initial medalist in the A-A by placing sixth.

The reigning Gazette MVP was nothing short of spectacular in her second district appearance, hitting each of her routines as the only competitor to score at least a 9.15 across the board. She posted a career-high 9.475 on the vault, a 9.325 on the floor, a 9.25 on the bars and a 9.15 on the beam.

Brecksville senior Izzi Abookhire edged Thomas for the all-around crown with a 37.375. North Royalton sophomore Mya Costello (36.925) and North Canton Hoover senior Madeline Berrey (36.875) were next in line. The quartet also comprises the top candidates for the state title.

“My vault just clicked today and was the best of my entire season,” Thomas said. “It’s an amazing feeling hearing the Brunswick moms and dads cheering and knowing that you’ve hit one of the best vaults of your life.”

Thomas added a sixth-place finish on the floor as the lone gymnast to make five trips to the podium. Abookhire did so four times and captured the bars and floor, while Berry earned three medals in winning the vault and beam.

Taylor continued her impressive yet somewhat unexpected postseason run as one of six freshman qualifiers on the vault. She missed the Greater Cleveland Conference Meet with a sprained right ankle and is less than two weeks removed from wearing an air cast.

Despite the painful injury, Taylor finished fifth at the West Geauga Sectional, then nailed her vault again at districts to easily move on. The only drama was waiting for the end of the seven-hour meet to learn how high she placed.

“It took a while to find out, but this was such a good experience,” Taylor said. “Since I had the ankle injury, it was tough to only be able to compete in one event at sectionals, but I did my best to try and help my team. We all worked very hard and came a long way this season.

“I know this week is going to be fun preparing for state, and I know (Thomas) and I will be doing our thing in the gym to be ready for it.”

Wadsworth freshman Jensen Heppner and Brunswick senior Hannah Burk picked up 18th-place finishes and are the second alternates for state. Heppner fell 0.425 shy of the 16th and final berth in the all-around and was 0.025 out on the vault. Burk was 0.025 short on the floor.

“I’m really happy with my vault and, overall, it was a good day,” said Heppner, who added a 24th on the bars. “There are so many great gymnasts here, it just depends on the competition and the day if you’re able to make it to state.”

Medina sophomore Meghan Deighton was 28th on the beam and 34th in the all-around, while Buckeye junior Madisyn Meers placed 26th on the floor and 36th on the vault. Both performed well in their signature events, but fell victim to the strongest district field in at least 11 years.

As four-time state qualifier Julia Pompeani of Magnificat put it, “When I was a freshman, I thought, ‘Dang, there is so much talent in this district,’ but it gets better every year. It was stacked today with so many great gymnasts and strong teams.”

Deighton agreed, saying, “I was so blessed to be here and I had a lot of fun. Seeing all of the great competition doesn’t intimidate me, it makes me want to work even harder to get back next season.”

Meers gutted it out while competing with a fractured left knee but was understandably disappointed.

“I tried to do the best that I could, but it’s tough when your best isn’t good enough,” she said. “My knee is hurting a lot. I guess it wasn’t my day.”

Brunswick’s team also left the gym feeling down after failing to gain one of the five berths to the state meet. The Blue Devils were second behind state champion Brecksville at the midpoint but fell to sixth in the final standings after mistake-plagued efforts on the bars and beam.

Coach Jacqueline Krist’s squad, which had the second-highest total on the vault and was fifth on the floor, only managed eighth-place finishes in its post-intermission events. Thomas counted scores in each event, and Burk and freshman Sophia Tomecko put three apiece on the board for the sectional champs.

“I’m proud of our girls for fighting until the end,” Krist said. “We had a record-setting season. Our relative inexperience showed as most of the girls had uncharacteristic wobbles or falls, but we will be more than ready when we come back here next season.”

Medina sophomore Addison Kasian was 22nd and Tomecko finished 35th on the bars. On the beam, Highland senior Allie Mazzaro placed 26th, Wadsworth sophomore Emilee Loparo was 33rd, Grizzlies sophomore Alyssa Talabac finished 35th and Brunswick sophomore KaraBeth Nemet was 36th.

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

Results

CHESTERLAND — Results Saturday from the West Geauga District (top five teams and 16 individuals in each event advance to state meet):

Team standings: 1. Brecksville 146.275, 2. North Royalton 140.775, 3. Mentor 140.4, 4. Chardon 139.925, 5. Hudson 139.85, 6. Brunswick 138.275, 7. Magnificat 137.5, 8. Solon 135.65, 9. Olmsted Falls 134.45, 10. Stow 133.775, 11. Westlake 133.575, 12. Berea-Midpark 128.375.

Individual events

All-around: 1. Izzi Abookire (Brecksville) 37.375, 2. Jordyn Thomas (Brunswick) 37.2, 3. Mya Costello (North Royalton) 36.925, 4. Madeline Berrey (North Canton Hoover) 36.875, 5. Erin Delahunty (Brecksville) 36.375, 6. Kaitlyn Dembie (Brecksville) 36.225, 18. Jensen Heppner (Wadsworth) 34.95, 27. Julia Pompeani (Magnificat) 34.45, 34. Meghan Deighton (Medina) 33.825. Vault: 1. Madeline Berrey (North Canton Hoover) 9.675, 2. Kaitlyn Dembie (Brecksville) 9.55, 3. Kyra Dossa (Walsh Jesuit) 9.5, 4. Jordyn Thomas (Brunswick) 9.475, 5. Julia Carter (Chardon) 9.3, 5. Lauren Brown (Massillon Washington) 9.3, 11. Anna Taylor (Brunswick) 9.1, 15. Julia Pompeani (Magnificat) 9.025, 18. Jensen Heppner (Wadsworth) 9.0, 36. Madisyn Meers (Buckeye) 8.675. Uneven parallel bars: 1. Izzi Abookire (Brecksville) 9.5, 2. Lindsay Kern (Brecksville) 9.475, 3. Avery Keller (North Royalton) 9.35, 4. Jordyn Thomas (Brunswick) 9.25, 4. Rachel Pitcovich (Stow) 9.25, 6. Julia Petty (Hudson) 9.225, 22. Addison Kasian (Medina) 8.825, 24. Jensen Heppner (Wadsworth) 8.8, 35. Sophia Tomecko (Brunswick) 8.2. Balance beam: 1. Madeline Berry (North Canton Hoover) 9.375, 2. Rachel Furlong (Wooster) 9.225, 3. Mya Costello (North Royalton) 9.175, 4. Jordyn Thomas (Brunswick) 9.15, 5. Izzi Abookire (Brecksville) 9.075, 5. Katey Koehl (Uniontown Lake) 9.075, 26. Allie Mazzaro (Highland) 8.25, 28. Meghan Deighton (Medina) 8.125, 33. Emilee Loparo (Wadsworth) 7.825, 35. Alyssa Talabac (Wadsworth) 7.725, 36. KaraBeth Nemet (Brunswick) 7.425. Floor exercise: 1. Izzi Abookire (Brecksville) 9.65, 2. Mya Costello (North Royalton) 9.5, 3. Haley Brennan (Westlake) 9.4, 4. Avery Keller (North Royalton) 9.375, 4. Margaret Battenhouse (Stow) 9.375, 6. Jordyn Thomas (Brunswick) 9.325, 6. Sydney DePompei (Hudson) 9.325, 18. Hannah Burk (Brunswick) 9.0, 26. Madisyn Meers (Buckeye) 8.85.



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