The Worthington Kilbourne High School gymnastics team won its first district championship in 13 years and qualified for state as a team for the third time in four seasons.
The host Wolves scored 140.625 in the district meet Feb. 23 to finish first of 24 teams. Dublin Coffman (138.925) and Thomas Worthington (136.125) earned the other two state berths.
The team state meet is Friday, March 1, at Hilliard Bradley. In addition, the top nine finishers in each event and the all-around qualified for the individual state meet Saturday, March 2, at Bradley.
"We were very surprised at winning district," coach Cindy Fushimi said. "I don't think anyone knew we had come out on top. We were fairly sure that Dublin Coffman would win the meet, so we were just hoping to finish in the top three."
Kilbourne's last district title came in 2000. That season, the Wolves placed third (142.575) at state behind Brecksville-Broadview Heights (144.0) and Rocky River Magnificat (143.975).
Qualifying for the individual state meet for the Wolves were Selena Fushimi-Karns in the all-around (35.8, second), floor exercise (9.125, second) and vault (9.225, third), Jaclyn Turner on balance beam (9.55, first), Kayla Rice on beam (9.075, fourth) and Allie Guist on uneven bars (8.825, fourth).
Last year at state, Fushimi-Karns placed 36th on floor (8.05).
"(Turner) started the year with us as a student-coach since she has a back injury," Fushimi said. "The more time she spent with us, she realized that she could probably do gymnastics at a level that would still allow her to compete but not stress her back. She started to practice a little bit each practice and was able to start competing again in January."
In their past two state appearances, the Wolves placed sixth (136.225) in 2011 and ninth (132.625) in 2010.
"As far as the state (team) meet, we just want to relax and do our best," Fushimi said. "I'm sure Brecksville is unbeatable again, so we would really just like to have a good showing and see how the numbers fall."
Cardinals advance to state meet again
Thomas will be making its fourth consecutive state appearance as a team after placing third at district.
"I knew our team score was the highest we had had all year, so no matter what happened with the state-qualifying scores, there was nothing more we could have done," coach Marci Skeen said. "When we found out we were going for the fourth year in a row, I couldn't believe it. We were all so happy and excited."
The Cardinals will be represented in the individual state meet by Leah Carloni on bars (9.175, first), beam (9.05, fifth) and the all-around (35.75, third) and Anna Glover on beam (9.1, third) and floor (8.875, seventh).
Thomas finished ninth (134.5) at state last year behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (148.0). The Cardinals placed eighth (134.675) in 2011 and 10th (132.2) in 2010.
In the individual state meet a year ago, Carloni placed 25th in the all-around (35.1), eighth on bars (9.125), tied for 24th on beam (8.625) and 28th on vault (8.875), and Glover tied for 15th on beam (8.825).
"This week will be all about staying healthy and trying to place in the top half," Skeen said. "Brecksville has been posting such high team scores, they will be hard to beat. I'd love to see Anna and Leah make it to the podium on any of their events... I can't imagine what that might be like to have one of my own girls be up there representing Thomas Worthington. It will be special without a doubt."