Lest anyone think the Olentangy High School gymnastics team treated its second consecutive appearance in the team state meet March 3 at Hilliard Bradley as old hat, they needed only look at junior Stephanie Miller before her floor exercise.
Doubled over with nerves before she stepped on the mat, Miller was determined to avenge what she considered a subpar showing at district.
She did, excelling from the start to score 9.1, the Braves’ best performance of the night as Olentangy scored 135.725 points and finished seventh of 12 teams, behind champion Brecksville-Broadview Heights (147.15).
The Bees, who won their 14th consecutive state title and 18th overall, edged runner-up Rocky River Magnificat by 1.075 points.
“Last year, we had a lot more nerves and didn’t really know what to expect. This year, we came in with expectations knowing what we were up against,” said Miller, who scored a 7.5 on floor at district to tie for 93rd place of 131 competitors. “We knew where we stood. That helped us a lot. We felt much more comfortable today, but we were still nervous.”Video •Olentangy's Mattee Bonanno competes on floor exercise during the team state meet March 3 at Hilliard Bradley.
Olentangy, which was central Ohio’s only representative in the meet, had its best score on floor with a 35.9. The Braves scored 34.05 on balance beam, 33.25 on vault and 32.25 on uneven bars to move up two places from last year’s finish at state.
“I did not walk away from one event feeling let down or discouraged by anything or anybody,” Olentangy coach Misty Lloyd-Matthews said. “They did everything they could.”
Olivia Boone, a freshman, added a 9.05 on floor. Miller also scored 8.75 on vault, while Ellie McIntyre scored 8.6 on bars and Cassie Fillman had an 8.55 on beam.
“I took a step on my double salto and I nailed that,” Boone said. “That was very exciting for me because that was a new skill in my routine. I have a new switch leap that was tough, and I think I did very well. There’s so much more I can take from this and learn going into next year.”