WARSAW — There are less than two weeks until Warsaw and Elkhart Central will take part in the Wawasee Sectional, but Wednesday night’s showdown was not a tour de force by any means.
Holding back athletes and routines by both coaches posted less than impressive event scores, the totality having Central win the meet 95-93.2 over Warsaw.
Warsaw’s Andi Calhoun and Central’s Kathy Krauter both made executive decisions for their clubs to scale back routines to not only help with injury issues, but also for situational necessity. The floor at Warsaw is a non-springboard platform, which does not allow for several high-skill tumbling passes, which had Central mercifully perform watered down routines.
Calhoun’s team had nearly as many ice packs on backs as it did water bottles on the floor. Thus, toning down routines and even holding out athletes from events, which Krauter also did, added up to a less than spectacular showdown of two sectional foes.
“I pulled a couple kids back on floor and toned down some of the skills, that’s just where we are at right now,” Calhoun stated. “I know there are a couple of kids with hurt backs, so we watered it down. Shannon (Winslow) has been sick with the flu so we held her back on a couple things tonight to try to help things out.”
Krauter echoed similar sentiments, stating, “They don’t have a spring floor here, so absolutely no tumbling. Our scores were so low because they couldn’t do leaps. All we really did were cartwheels and roundoffs. I also have an aging team, and they all look like mummies with ice wraps. Absolutely no tumbling today.”
Wednesday night did have its share of moments as the meet did feature a handful of contenders for the upcoming tournament performing the all-around circuits.
Central’s Holly Lehman posted the highest score of the night in any event with her 8.95 routine on bars, which looked as sharp as Lehman has shown all season. Lehman would lead the field in the all-around tally with a 33.775, and was also tops on vault with her 8.75. Libby Yeakey provided a decent set of scores for Central, taking second on vault at 8.4, second on beam at 8.05 and posted a 30.275 all-around figure.
Central were without the services of its number two gymnast – Beatrice Thomas – out for family reasons, and held a number of athletes from specific routines to help nagging injuries. Krauter doesn’t believe the abbreviated workload will affect her team, which does not have a meet between now and the sectional next Saturday.
“Listen, my hope is just to get third place,” admitted a still-confident Krauter. “There are four teams more than capable of winning the sectional. Us, Plymouth, Angola and DeKalb. Any one of us if everybody hits on a good day, can get this meet. Our strengths are that I have five seniors. I have an aging team, but they have been in this position before, so that’s my strength. I’ve got five seniors.”
Warsaw’s Abbi Baum took the opportunity to hone her craft, notably a huge opening series on beam and an aggressive floor routine. Executing a no-handed tuck followed by several back handsprings on the beam, Baum easily had the most energetic routine at 8.2 and first place, followed by an 8.85 on floor, which showed little effect of the bounceless floor.
“I just need to hit every routine, sticking beam is a big one,” Baum said about her prospects at sectional. “The tuck is the main thing. After the next back handspring series, I think I feel like I’ve done well after that.”
Warsaw continued its build to sectional Saturday with the improvement of Jo Richard and Winslow. Richard recorded a 7.375 which tied Winslow for third on bars and nearly had a no-fall beam routine, still posting a 7.425. Winslow, fighting through a flu bug, was second overall with an 8.4 on vault, but did not compete in either beam or floor. At this point of the year, its about March and not February, according to Calhoun. Warsaw still have one home meet left, hosting Peru Monday night before all eyes focus on the sectional.
“We are going to water it down just a little more Monday,” Calhoun said. “Peru isn’t a team we are really worried about score-wise. We will still go out and have fun, but we want to be ready to go for sectional.”
Warsaw’s Molly Borchers and Ana Kolton each performed JV vault, scoring 7.85 and 7.65, respectively, to take first and third overall while Kolton comprised a 5.3 on beam to conclude Warsaw’s JV events.