By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but one Wawasee will take. Down to just three performers by night’s end, Wawasee gutted out an 82.25-78.925 win over visiting West Noble Tuesday evening.
Starting with just four performers, Wawasee was down to three midway through its first home meet of the season when Delaney Delagrange came off of beam warmups clutching her back. With Delagrange out and Talia Kuhl unavailable in street clothes, Wawasee had to forge ahead with just Emma Ebright, Olivia Ousley and Kenady Meerzo, and all three put together moments in their final two performances to help their team to a win.
Ousley’s 7.8 on beam led the meet, hitting on a pair of new skills while Ebright would nail a pair of smooth tumbling passes on floor to score 8.725 and capture honors.
Ebright, who was celebrated as the lone senior prior to the meet, led off the night with an 8.425 on vault to take honors and Meerzo earned her first varsity win on bars, scoring 5.9.
“Pressure was on her for sure,” said Wawasee head coach Molly Liston of Ebright. “She was fine during vault, but once we got to bars, you could see it on her face, it was starting to get to her. We’re also used to meets without people present and tonight we had spectators here, families were here. It’s our first home meet. More people were watching and you could tell.”
Ousley, who didn’t perform bars, was second on vault at 8.3 and third on floor at 8.3. Meerzo was second on floor at 8.45.
Before bowing out, Delagrange had scored a 7.95 on vault and 4.7 on bars.
Valerie Diaz led West Noble with a second-place score of 5.65 on bars and Taylor Shoemaker had a third-place score of 6.6 on beam. Rachel Klages also had a third-place figure, 7.825, on vault.
“The girls have come home from invites earlier this season and knew what they did wrong,” Liston said. “Tonight will be a first given we were at home and making some mistakes. Here’s where we took some tenths off, here’s where the judges weren’t feeling it. Being on the home equipment, that’s where we have to come back tomorrow and get better at some things we didn’t execute tonight. The mood, well, sometimes you get that with teenage girls. But really, we’re just focusing on what does the score sheet tell us and how can we go off of that.”
NorthWood’s Emilee Conrad competed as an individual Tuesday, scoring 7.8 on vault, 5.1 on bars, 5.95 on beam and 7.75 on floor.
Wawasee is scheduled to compete again Saturday at Angola in a make-up meet from earlier in the month.