Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton gymnasts cap perfect season with state title

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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 that good.’”

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 on bars.

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.”

Team Scores

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: 9.575.

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 score: 9.650.

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: 38.175.


Posted 3/18/2002