By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – There won’t be much mystery at the Wawasee Gymnastics Sectional this Saturday. At least in who all will be performing.
Each of the nine full teams and even the associated individuals coming into the sectional are all familiar with one another, most having squared off in duals, but all seeing each other at the Lakeland Invite in early February. A trio have separated themselves this season in DeKalb, Elkhart and Angola. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything for the others to fight for.
The top six places in each of the vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around columns advance from Wawasee to Huntington and the regional round on March 6. That’s where a lot of the aim will go. The top three teams also advance regardless of individual standing.
The host Warriors have improved their scoring seemingly each week, hitting the 95-point team mark this month. Wawasee will send out three individuals in the all-around category in Talia Kuhl, Emma Ebright and Kenady Meerzo, and Olivia Ousley in all but bars. Ebright is Wawasee’s lone senior, and has shown growth in vault and floor routines, and Kuhl has consistently been Wawasee’s top scorer. Meerzo has also expanded her skill set and has led meets in event scores. Ousley has given Wawasee a boost in beam and floor scores this season.
Warsaw will throw its top three into the all-around circuit in Julianne Olson, Brooke Bolinger and Sydni Purvis. Olson has missed time this season, but is back and ready to go for the weekend. Bolinger has improved each week, and gives Warsaw a formidable score on floor each night out, and Purvis has emerged as the team’s go-to scorer. Purvis has hovered in the high 32s and low 33s in all-around, which would contend for a regional spot if the cards play right. Ella Collins will compete for the Tigers on just floor.
NorthWood’s Emilee Conrad has been training and competing with Wawasee all season, and will take her shot in all-around.
Some of the athletes to watch coming into the weekend include Emma Schoenherr and Audrey Wilkinson of Angola, Mia Echartea of Elkhart, Lauren Blythe and Sarah Boyd of DeKalb, Emma Schiffli and Emily Byler of Lakeland, Miah Hudson of East Noble and Dorothy Karris of Plymouth.
Action will begin at 11 a.m. in the Wawasee annex gym.