SYRACUSE – Don’t be surprised if the Wawasee gymnastics team competes the final two weeks of the regular season with a chip on its shoulder.
The 106.65-105.475 win over Elkhart Central Thursday was another solid win for the program, furthering the notion for the Lady Warriors that it still has something to prove.
“This is a great meet to show we can be the team people have to chase,” said Wawasee head coach Nika Prather. “Great win for us, but we have plenty to work on.”
After topping Central, the three-time defending sectional champions, at the Lakeland Invite last Saturday, Wawasee wanted to show that performance wasn’t a one-off fluke. The ability to piece together a strong beam set and then an even better floor series helped Wawasee make up a half-point deficit at the midway rotation.
Wawasee posted three huge scores on floor, starting with Aundreya Wegener’s 9.275 and followed by a 9.4 from Jada Parzygnot and 9.6 from Reagan Atwood. The 28.275 on the floor outdid Central’s 27.15, becoming the defining difference in the meet. Five no-fall beam routines certainly helped curry momentum in the home team’s favor, getting an 8.475 from Katelyn Baker and 8.425 from Meghan Beer, capped by a 9.35 from Atwood.
Atwood added a 9.0 on vault and 8.6 on bars while Parzygnot had an 8.75 on vault and 8.675 on bars to help the cause.
“This is a great win for us, but there is still a lot to improve,” Prather said. “You look at beam, and we stayed on, but the scores still weren’t where they needed to be. We have to look at something like that, and realize that isn’t what we are trying to do. Just staying on isn’t going to get big scores, and at this point in the year we need to start seeing consistent big scores. We did get some on floor and a couple others, but this is a nice meet for us to look at some of the mistakes we made but still enjoy the fact we were able to get a win over a very, very good Elkhart Central team.”
Central coach Kathy Krauter split the meet result into part bad night and part lacking skills, not committing to one or the other as the overriding factor in the decision. Analena VanderZwagg was electric for most of the meet, scoring top figures on vault (9.275 despite a nasty crash on her second run), bars (8.775) and second on floor (9.45), but a curious fall on beam shortly into her routine set the tone for a pedestrian 8.45. Rylee Damewood helped make up for the moment with an exceptional 9.225 no-fall while Skiler Reveal posted a 9.25 on floor, but fell short of the Wawasee trio’s big runs.
“We’re not even where we need to be, our skills aren’t put in yet,” offered Krauter, whose team has still scored over 108 this season. “Our girls got a late start. We are hoping to build in some more skills this weekend at Logansport, and then throw in more against Angola next week. We knew coming in here there was no way.”
Wawasee, with its win, now has a dual victory over seven of the opponents in the sectional, including what most believe to be the prime contenders in Central, DeKalb and Angola. The sectional, to be hosted by Wawasee on Feb. 24, is the primary focus of both coaches, and both feel they have plenty left in the tank.
“We need to confirm this and know that we can do it, not just once, but regularly,” said Prather. “Of course this will help their confidence, but the girls need to understand that, yes we won, but we weren’t clean. We had no falls on beam and still had all sorts of deductions. This is the type of team (Central) that throws big skills and can beat you without having their best night. Our girls need to realize that we have to clean it up.”
Added Krauter, “This is just one of those years. I certainly can’t predict what’s going to happen. We certainly have the girls to win a fourth title. Wawasee is at full capacity, and they did very well. It’s like, if we have a crappy meet, this is the type of team that will come up and beat you.”