SYRACUSE – A win is a win. But at this point of the year, Wawasee head coach Nika Prather was less than enthused about her team’s 95.65-82.35 team victory over West Noble. The Wawasee team score, two points lower than what it scored last Tuesday against Plymouth, along with a shoddy set of performances on the beam, had Prather searching for answers.
“After watching beam tonight, I’m at a loss as to what we’ve claimed to have improved on this season,” Prather said, pointing to numerous mistakes made Monday night. “I don’t know what else to do. We have done everything at practice to make sure they are focusing, how they are to land, what they see up there. Put them in meets, and they lose their focus. I don’t know. Obviously, we have to come up something quick.”
Scoring just a 22.5 combined score on beam, along with a 21.55 on bars, were points of irritation with Prather with the Wawasee Sectional just six days away and no meets in between. A 7.6 from Molly Smith and 7.5 by Emily Allen on bars led the way, but it was the combination of beam scores that really put Prather and assistant Sarah Wegener over.
An 8.475 from Allen was by far the top score, but was also packaged with a fall and a couple wobbles that Allen hasn’t had recently. The next best score on beam for Wawasee was a 7.325 no-fall from Jade Skelton, but much too low a score for a Wawasee team that has a legit chance to contend for one of the three advancing spots to regional.
“I’d love to say yes that we can advance, because saying no sounds like I don’t have faith, but we scored a 97 last week and tonight we shoot for a 98 and get a 95,” Prather lamented. “Beam was atrocious. We have the potential, but I’m not confident that tonight showed me that we are ready to compete at that level. I really hope that I’m wrong because tonight I feel like we took a step back.”
Allen, the lone Wawasee senior performing on her senior night, would put together two performances worth attention heading into the weekend after another 9.15 on floor and adding a flip off the vault to her routine Monday and scored an 8.75 for her efforts.
Scoring a 33.875, Allen led all performers in all-around in her final regular season meet. Can she thrill the home fans one more time this weekend? Prather thinks the possibility is high.
“She certainly has the potential to move onto regionals,” Prather said. “This is her last hurrah, her senior year, I hope so. I’ve seen kids go to sectionals with all the momentum in the world, freeze up, and there it goes. I’ve also seen kids step up who you had no idea could perform and find themselves going to regionals. I think Emily certainly has the capability to perform as a top-six individual, she just has to be mentally strong and believe in her abilities.”
Wawasee’s overall scores on vault and floor were pretty consistent with what it has done for much of the season. Smith posted an 8.5 on vault and 8.65 on floor along with giving Wawasee its only other all-around score at 29.65.
Ashleigh Frecker added an 8.4 on vault and Taylor Heck and Skelton both scored 8.15 on floor, Heck’s score a career-high.
West Noble were led by the 8.0 on vault by Amanda Huntsman and 8.3 on floor from Meagan Roy. Westview individual Karyssa Davis had the second-best score on vault with an 8.6, performing as a one-woman show.
The Wawasee Gymnastics Sectional will take place this Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. in the WHS annex gym. Teams from Angola, DeKalb, East Noble, Elkhart Central, Lakeland, Plymouth, Warsaw, Wawasee and West Noble will perform as will individuals from Hamilton, Prairie Heights and Westview. The top three teams as well as the top six individuals will advance to the Huntington North Regional March 14.