A new beginning, an unusual finish.
Freshman Breana Spain was mobbed by Colonial Forge teammates and coaches after posting a meet-high 9.775 score on floor exercise, helping to rally the host Eagles to a share of the team crown along with Stafford in the first-ever Stafford County Championship meet on Monday. Both squads tallied 143.25 points.
It marked the first time in five tries this season that the Eagles have matched the Indians in head-to-head competition (twice in quad meets and twice in invitationals).
The Colonial Forge faithful had to do their celebration dance a little late since a scoring error in the Eagles’ balance beam tally initially had the Indians prevailing by .975 points.
Mountain View rode the strong efforts by Zara Christophe, Casey Meinert and Rachel Hunter to a third-place finish.
Unlike previous seasons, everyone who participated automatically qualified for upcoming regional competition. Colonial Forge will advance to next Monday’s Class 6 Region B meet at Patriot High School in Nokesville, where defending state champion McLean figures to be the chief competition. The other four Stafford County schools will be joined by Harrisonburg in the Class 5 Region D meet Feb. 10 at Stafford.
The Indians managed a share of the crown despite the absence of Leah Morgan, a regular on floor and bars, who was sidelined with an illness.
“We had ups and downs, that’s the way gymnastics is. For the most part, I thought they did well,” Stafford coach Shawn Thurston said.
Jennah Chang and Laney Krejdovsky were the Indians’ top finishers. Chang won both the bars and beam competition as well as finishing first in all-around. Krejdovsky tied for second on bars with a personal best score of 8.875 and captured fifth in all-around while posting scores of 8.8 or higher in three of the four events.
Meanwhile, Colonial Forge got off to a fast start on vault, where Jessie Addo (9.7) and Spain (9.45) finished 1-2, then had a stronger-than-normal showing on beam with very few falls.
“We’ve been working really hard on things that we have been getting reductions on; going over our papers, working on straight legs and getting all of our requirements in and better skills,” Addo said. “[The scores] really matter at regionals and states. Right now we’re trying to have fun and get better at those later competitions.”
Commenting on Spain’s impact on the team, Addo said: “In here, it’s even more fun having her next to me. I’m really proud of how well she did today. . . .It was disheartening to be our last home meet, but we went out with a bang.”
“I was expecting that,” Chang said of Spain. “Her gymnastics was very clean and her presentation was wonderful.
“It brings a very good competition factor to it. We can look at other teams and say, ‘OK, we have to step up our game a little bit.’ “
The senior praised her team’s hard work and perseverance, but noted the Indians’ bar scores were lower than normal and need to be cleaned up.
“[In practice] we will be working on getting every little detail as clean as we can get,” she said.
“I definitely think we’ll on the right path, we have a lot of work to do,” Krejdovsky added. “Doing things over and over again until we perfect it. And I think we have a chance.”
“They [Stafford] are good and we use them as our basis for what we have to improve upon,” Eagles coach Lisa Ranklin said. “I was excited for my last three girls on bars. All did their double backs and we have been working to make sure they do it at the same exact meet. They did and I was excited for them.”
Team standings: 1. (tie) Stafford and Colonial Forge 143.25; 3. Mountain View 135.15; 4. North Stafford 100.55; 5. Brooke Point 60.475.
Vault: 1. Jessie Addo (CF) 9.7; 2. Breana Spain (CF) 9.45; 3. Jennah Chang (S) 9.325; 4. Zara Christophe (MV) 9.2; 5. Taylor Casey (CF) 9.1; 6. Kayla Huebner (S) 9.075.
Uneven bars: 1. Chang (S) 9.725; 2. (tie) Laney Krejdovsky (S) and Spain (CF) 8.875; 4. Casey Meinert (MV) 8.85; 5. Addo (CF) 8.825; 6. (tie) Kasitlyn Biecker (BP) and Christopher (MV) 8.75.
Balance beam: 1. Chang (S) 9.45; 2. Addo (CF) 9.3; 3. Spain (CF) 8.8; 4. Meinert (MV) 8.625; 5. Rachel Petto (S) 8.6; 6. Maycen Gilbert (NS) 8.5.
Floor exercise: 1. Spain (CF) 9.775; 2. Chang (S) 9.75; 3. Addo (CF) 9.475; 4. Tory Garrett (CF) 9.375; 5. Gilbert (NS) 9.3; 6 Keegan Habina (S) 9.225.
All-around: 1. Chang (S) 38.25; 2. Addo (CF) 37.3; 3. Spain (CF) 36.0; 4. Christophe (MV) 35.225; 5. Krejdovsky (S) 35.125; 6. Rachel Hunter (MV) 34.95.