Sports

Area High School Gymnasts Warm Up for Regionals

High School gymnastics’ Northern Region Championships were to be held today at Lake

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(Photo: Gary Mester)

Braddock High School. But with the recent inclement weather, the meet is likely to be canceled.

In the event of any delay, the championship is tentatively rescheduled for Feb. 17.

Despite recent snowstorms, area gymnastic teams competed in their district championship.

On Feb. 1 at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, the teams throughout the Liberty District competed at the district Championships. McLean High School finished fifth out of eight teams.

“They did very well,” said McLean head coach Courtney Lesson, in her first year at the helm of the Highlander program. “We had a full team. It was a good experience.”

Lesson was particularly happy sending a full squad to districts, considering she only has two competitors with any gymnastics experience before the season began.

“That was good for them,” Lesson said of the experience. “It helps them improve. I thought we could fall in the middle. I’m very happy with the way they did.”

The Highlanders were guided by a pair of sophomores – Abby Neuberger and Claire Sanders.

Neuberger finished second on the bars at Liberty Districts to qualify for regionals.

“I think [her chances] are pretty good,” Lesson said of Neuberger’s potential at Lake Braddock. “If she does a more clean routine, I think she can finish up there.”

Sanders tied for sixth in the vault exercise at districts, good enough for a trip to the next level. Lesson believes that if Sanders can get her landing down, “she’s got a good shot at regionals.”

Marshall High School had a much smaller contingent of girls compete at the Liberty District event. The Statesmen had only two girls in the mix.

“They did great,” said Marshall High head coach Sue Walton. “I was very proud of them. They did quite well.”

Walton was highly impressed, given that the two girls in question – Shannon Sturgeon and Abbey Hodges – had little to no gymnastics experience heading into the season.

Sturgeon, a junior, started the season competing in only the floor exercise, but ultimately moved on to the all-around by the time the season ended. Hodges, a sophomore, competed in three events.

While neither Sturgeon nor Hodges qualified for regionals, Walton was happy to give these newcomers a chance to compete and learn the sport of gymnastics.

“It gives the girls an opportunity to try the sport,” Walton said, adding that she’s looking forward to next year as the program builds. “It’s a wonderful experience. It’s a good thing all-around.”

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