When Chagrin Valley Conference powers West Geauga and Kenston met head to head on Saturday for a dual at Elite Gymnastics Academy in Solon, one squad had the best gymnast, and the other had the best team.
Propelled by a one-two-three-five finish on the balance beam, the defending CVC champion Lady Wolverines won the meet with a team score of 131.35, while Kenston tallied a season-best 130.05.
In comparison, West Geauga won last year’s conference championship with a 127.8, while Kenston finished as runner-up with a 125.2.
Specifically on the beam, West Geauga’s top four gymnasts carded a 34.1 during Saturday’s dual, while the Lady Bombers finished with a 32.65.
“Beam, I always tell them it’ll win the meet or lose the meet,” West Geauga seventh-year head coach Gina Javorek said. “It’s going to make you or break you, because any girl can have best beam routine, but, if you fall, you don’t have the best beam routine. So it’s whether you can stay on the beam or not. That’s what wins the meet.”
Capturing the Lady Wolverines’ only individual triumph of the evening, sophomore Lexy Ange scored an 8.65 on the beam. She also finished second during the floor exercise with a 9.0 and third on the vault with an 8.2 to pave the way for a third-place finish in the all-around with a 33.25 scorecard.
“Lexy is doing really well,” coach Javorek said. “I can say in confidence that she is a solid score for us on beam just about every meet. That first place boosted her confidence, but where she really shines is floor. I just feel, as soon as her music comes on and you’re watching her, like the whole gym stops. I love her routine. She’s always just a happy girl.”
West Geauga’s top performer in the all-around, however, was sophomore Maddie Prosek with a 33.45, bested only by Kenston junior Sammi Nero.
Prosek finished second on the vault with a 9.0, third on the floor with an 8.6 and third on the beam with an 8.55. While she usually has the Lady Wolverines’ best score on the uneven bars, Prosek had to rely on her teammates in that event on Saturday, after taking a couple falls.
“Maddie has really expanded her skills from last year,” coach Javorek said. “She’s doing a double-back dismount off the bars (instead of a single-flip layout). She’s doing harder tumbling on the floor. So she worked her butt off in the offseason, and I see her as a leader now because of her hard work. Girls kind of follow that.”
West Geauga sophomore Caroline Wolfhope, meanwhile, grabbed a pair of runner-up finishes on the beam, 8.6, and bars, 8.10.
A state returner for the Lady Wolverines, Wolfhope usually competes in all four events, Javorek said.
“She did a flight on beam, did a couple back handsprings and kind of fell funny on her ankle,” Javorek said. “I just thought, why push it right now with less than two weeks until sectionals? I want her 100 percent, because she has the potential to make it back to states.”
Joining Ange as the only other Lady Wolverine to contribute to the team score in all four of her events was freshman Tara Ritt, who finished third on the vault, 8.2, third on the bars, 7.8, fifth on the beam, 8.3, and sixth on the floor, 8.0, for a 32.3 all-around score for fourth place.
West Geauga sophomore Cassie McCartney, meanwhile, contributed with a pair of fourth-place finishes on the floor, 8.2, and bars, 7.5, while junior Kendal Lyman added to the team all-around with her 7.25 on the vault.
“I was just so proud of all of our girls,” Javorek said. “I just feel like we’re climbing. We’re doing better and better every meet. They’re gaining confidence. And that’s what’s supposed to happen during the season. They’re supposed to get better and better.”
Nero propels Lady Bombers
Winning the vault, bars and floor, Kenston’s Nero scored a 9.25, 9.3 and 9.3 in those events, respectfully, en route to a triumphant 36.25 all-around score for the Lady Bombers.
“Oh, she’s been doing awesome,” Kenston head coach Nicole Martorello said. “I’m really proud of her. I think she’s just been pushing herself, and the support of her teammates has helped. She just has great determination to do well at meets and has been consistent all season.”
Kenston seniors Brooke Mostar, 32.20, and Dominique Kestranek, 30.75, also competed in the all-around to help the Lady Bombers card their best team score of the season – 130.05.
Individually, Mostar’s best performance was an 8.2 on vault for third place, and she also contributed team scores on the bars, 7.5, and floor, 7.9.
Kestranek shined with an 8.2 on the floor for fourth place, while adding scores with her vault, 7.75, beam routine, 8.1, and bars routine, 6.7.
“They usually compete in just three events, but it was senior night, and so we had them both in all four,” Martorello said. “It was really cool, because they stepped it up and really helped our team all-around.”
Also contributing to the team score, freshman Isabel Villanueva finished fourth on the bars, 7.5, sixth on the beam, 8.15, and eighth on the floor, 7.8, while sophomore Gabriela Salvini grabbed a pair of 8.0’s for sixth in the vault and eighth on the beam.
While the Lady Bombers were 1.3 points shy of beating West Geauga on Saturday, they’ll have another crack at their conference rivals in the CVC meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at West Geauga.
“One of the girls’ goals was to break a 130 all-around score for the team,” Martorello said. “So that was awesome. We’re bummed that we lost, but, at the same time, it was very great that they accomplished one of their goals, and it was their best meet of the season. So I was really proud of them.”
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