SYRACUSE — After two weeks of road meets, performing on the home equipment was nice for the Wawasee gymnastics team. Even if it meant doing so short-handed.
Missing junior Emily Allen with what else, the flu, Wawasee pressed on and posted a lackluster but still winning 87.5-76.45 total over West Noble Tuesday night in the first home meet for the Lady Warriors.
Starting the season at the Blazer Invite in Elkhart on Jan. 3 then heading to Angola and Fort Wayne Carroll for a pair of big-time duals last week, having West Noble at home should have been more relaxing. But with Allen out of the mix and with it a guaranteed set of all-around scores, more work was put on the shoulders of several not used to the extra lifting.
Freshmen Ashleigh Frecker and Emma Hoyle were both asked to work varsity events, as was senior exchange student Esther Hermann. While all three had a top-five showing, it was the work of sophomores Taylor Busse and Molly Smith as well as senior Kim Garber that made up the point differential against the Lady Chargers.
Busse was first on bars (7.0) and second on floor (7.55) and posted an all-around score of 28.75, which was second in the meet to Garber’s 29.85. Garber had the top score on beam (7.55) and floor (8.6) in what normally is a lively event for the Lady Warriors.
Smith was second on bars (6.15) and beam (7.05) and posted a 28.65 all-around number.
West Noble had just a pair of scores rank in the top three Tuesday, with Savannah Porter taking third on beam at 6.65 and Audree Ritchie lead all vaulters with an 8.3, besting Garber by .05 and Smith by .15.
While not overly impressive, considering Wawasee had been in the low 90s with Allen available, Wawasee head coach Nika Prather will take it.
“I thought easing into the schedule might help us, but seeing the tough teams like the four we saw at the Blazer Invite, and also seeing Angola and Carroll, that is our reality,” Prather said. “Plymouth, Elkhart Central, Lakeland and Warsaw that we saw in Elkhart are all in our sectional, and so is Angola. Along with Alex Cool from Hamilton that we also saw in Angola. We know what we need to do.
“If we start out easy, with not a lot of pressure, then it’s OK, that wasn’t bad,” Prather continued. “But those tough teams, you now what you need to do. You can’t set them up any more than what we saw. It’s brutal and hurts seeing all those tough ones early, but that sets us up better for the Lakeland Invite and then the sectional. And having a meet like this one should only help us refine what we need to keep working on.”
Wawasee had a 5.95 from Hermann during JV exercises and a pair of second-places from Deea Coy on beam (5.75) and floor (5.8).
The Lady Warriors will return to the home equipment next Tuesday when it hosts Warsaw. Wawasee will take the vault at 6 p.m. while Warsaw will begin on the bars.