The Worthington Kilbourne High School gymnastics team advanced to the team state meet for the fourth time in five seasons.
The Wolves placed second (141.025 points) in the district meet Feb. 22 at home behind Dublin Coffman (143.85) as 26 teams scored. The top three teams advanced to the team state meet Friday, Feb. 28, at Hilliard Bradley, and Upper Arlington (137.7) secured the final state berth.
Last year at state, Kilbourne placed sixth (137.53) in the 12-team meet behind 10-time reigning champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (148.33).
"I am most happy with how our team fought back throughout the day," coach Cindy Fushimi said. "We have emphasized how important every single person is, and this was a perfect example of that. We started off with our season-high score on vault, then had a rough bar day. Two gymnasts fell who normally don't and we had to rely on other scores. We rallied on beam, but again had some uncharacteristic falls... We finished on floor with everyone hitting routines. I am so proud of the way they kept their focus and handled adversity."
The top eight finishers in each event and all-around at district qualified for the individual state meet Saturday, March 1, at Bradley.
Advancing for the Wolves were Celeste Fushimi-Karns on balance beam (9.15, fourth), floor exercise (9.1, fifth) and all-around (35.375, eighth), Kayla Rice on uneven bars (7.525, third) and floor (9.075, sixth), Jaclyn Turner on beam (9.175, tied for second) and Allie Guist on beam (9.05, tied for sixth).
There were 103 competitors in the all-around, 150 on vault, 148 on bars and floor and 147 on beam.
Cardinals' Carloni returning to state
Thomas will be represented in the individual state meet by senior Leah Carloni, who advanced on bars by tying for fourth (8.775).
Also at district, she tied for 18th on vault (9.025), tied for 21st on floor (8.85) and finished 12th in the all-around (35.075).
Last season at state, Carloni placed fifth on both beam (9.25) and bars (9.15) and finished eighth in the all-around (36.2).
"I know Leah will work hard this week and be very prepared to do the best bar routine she's ever done," coach Marci Skeen said. "She's a tough competitor who had a tough day. I know she will represent Thomas Worthington well and get back on the podium one last time."
Other top performers for the Cardinals at district were Haley Carnahan on bars (8.1, tied for 23rd) and beam (8.55, tied for 23rd) and Liesl Ludwig on floor (8.875, 20th).
Thomas finished ninth (129.5) at district, ending its four-year run of qualifying for the team state meet.
"Unfortunately, it was just not our day," Skeen said. "We started on beam and it did not go as planned. We had practiced so hard on that event knowing it was our first event of the day and knowing we are generally very good at it. We had some falls that had to do with new gymnasts competing at a high level. Leah fell as well, which she has not done all season, which kind of set the tone for the day.
"It was a heartbreaking day filled with more tears of sadness then happiness. I did not want to send my seniors out this way.
"It's tough making it back to the state meet in consecutive years, let alone four in a row. A fifth year was just not in the cards."