By KEN PETERSON
INDIANAPOLIS -- A team that has spent an entire season taking the best shots
from the best in the state can today say they’re state champions.
For the third time in the 30-year history of Chesterton gymnastics, the
Trogems are state champions.
Coach Maria Bachuchin’s squad showed why it was the best Saturday afternoon
at Indianapolis’ Perry Meridian High School, winning the state title with a
team score of 111.350. Fort Wayne Dwenger was second with 109.225 and
Merrillville third with 106.925.
The other state titles came in 1993 and 2000 while the Trogems were state
runners-up in 1985 and ‘95.
And a little history was made as well as Lauren West became Chesterton’s
first all-around individual state champion. West finished with an all-around
score of 38.175.
Leslie West also had a fine all-around day with a score of 36.575. She
finished with a 9.1 in bars, 9.425 on beam, 9.0 on floor and 9.050 on vault.
“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” Leslie West said. “You wanted
to do especially well. And (the coaching staff) didn’t let us know our
scores or anything. So I knew I had to do what I had to do. They kept
telling me all week, ‘Your body knows how to do it, just let yourself be
She credited assistant coach Kathy Wilburn for her success Saturday,
especially on beam to clinch the championship.
“She brought my confidence level up and had me believing in myself to get
that aerial,” West said.
Jenny Janosky also had a great all-around score at 36.550, good for a 12th
place finish. She scored a 9.150 on bars, 8.85 on beam, 9.4 on floor and
9.150 on vault.
Annie Campbell competed on vault and scored 8.75. She also scored an 8.525
Jessica Gravel scored a 9.05 on floor and an 8.60 on beam.
Chesterton won the championship starting with the floor and ending on beam,
not the ideal rotation.
But when a team overcomes the adversity to win handily, it makes the title
that more special.
“This is the rotation that every team dreads,” Janosky said. “To go out
today and to be so successful with this rotation. It’s not the rotation that
you have to worry about. It’s how you perform on each event. You have to
take it one at a time. And if that’s your rotation, it’s your rotation and
you have to go out and deal with it.”
For some of these Trogems, it’s their second blue ring.
“It’s definitely exciting to win it for the second time in three years,”
Leslie West said. “Especially from a personal standpoint, this is the first
year that I’ve actually contributed completely to the team. When I was a
freshman, my floor score tied with another score on the team. So I real ly
don’t think I had much of an influence. I went all-around here. It was more
exciting because I had a bigger part of it.”
“This is like a dream come true for me,” Janosky said. “Never would I have
imagined that we would go through a perfect season and then win (the
Duneland) Conference, sectional, regional and state. You think about it once
in a while when your mind wanders.”
Chesterton 111.350, Fort Wayne Dwenger 109.225, Merrillville 106.925, Carmel
105.825, Fort Wayne Northrop 104.175, McCutcheon 103.075, Bloomington South
102.925, New Castle 102.900.
Bars - 1. Lauren West (Chesterton), 2. Niccole Van Hoey (Fort Wayne
Dwenger), 3. Amanda Bircher (Hobart), 4. Carrie Best (Angola), 5. Kaci Abel
(Bloomington South), 6. Ashley Sarbinoff (Carmel). Winning score: 9.550.
Beam - 1. Lauren West (Chesterton), 2. Amanda Bircher (Hobart), 3. Kelly
Coak (Fort Wayne Northrop), 4. Ashley Sarbinoff (Carmel), 5. Leslie West
(Chesterton), 6. Julianne Repay (Portage). Winning score: 9.625.
Floor - 1. Jenna Tarkington (Northwestern), 2. Kaci Abel (Bloomington
South), 3. Katie Tanis (Merrillville), 4. Ashley Sarbinoff (Carmel), 5.
Christie Theissen (Plainfield), 6. Carrie Best (Angola). Winning score:
Vault - 1. Niccole Van Hoey (Fort Wayne Dwenger), 2. Christine Theissen
(Plainfield), 3. Lauren West (Chesterton), 4. Kara Lux (Merrillville), 5.
Courtney Peters (Fort Wayne Dwenger), 6. Amanda Bircher (Hobart). Winning
All-around - 1. Lauren West (Chesterton), 2. Amanda Bircher (Hobart), 3.
Ashley Sarbinoff (Carmel), 4. Natalie Hesler (Center Grove), 5. Kaci Abel
(Bloomington South), 6. Courtney Peters (Fort Wayne Dwenger). Winning score: