By Rudy Marquez
SYRACUSE – Plymouth High School’s gymnastics team finished fifth in a tough 13-team field at the Wawasee Sectional on Saturday. Only the top three teams advance to regionals, as well as the top six individuals in each event and all-around. A top six finish there and it’s off to the state finals on March 13 at Ball State University.
Plymouth’s Tessa Hutchinson will move on to the Huntington North Regional Saturday, March 6, in two events after placing third on the beam and sixth on the vault. The PHS sophomore had a solid day and just missed advancing in the all-around with a seventh-place finish.
Junior teammate Dorothy Karris placed 12th in the all-around. Plymouth seniors Caitlin Davidson and Mia Wojcik each competed in one event. Sophomore Kasi Harner competed on bars and beam, while freshman Madison Umbaugh-Ward competed in all four events. Bremen senior Raven White also competed in four events and had an all-around score of 29.325 to place 22nd.
Because of Covid protocols, attendance was limited to two individuals for each competing gymnast and essential personnel. Despite the smaller size of the crowd, the meet still had the energy, excitement and pressure of any sectional as teams and individuals sought a chance to advance to the regional.
“Overall, I thought we did okay,” commented Plymouth head coach Mandy Bender on her team’s performance. “Starting on floor is always a little rough. I thought it went pretty well. Beam was really our target for Kasi, Dorothy and Tessa so it was nice being able to go last (in that event) because we knew exactly where we were at and exactly what they had to do to get there. Coming in, (a score of) 8.8 was in 5th place, so we knew that was kind of the target and that’s above average for Dorothy and Tessa. All they had to do was not fall. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for one of them, but I’m excited for Tessa. This will be her first time making it out individually.”
Coach Bender also praised the efforts of her seniors.
“Mia (Wojcik) competed in vault. Cait (Davidson) competed in floor. Rachael (Kaylor), unfortunately, didn’t compete today, but she was my alternate for vault and floor. With Cait being my cousin it is a little different to watch her go. She and Raven (White) are the first class that I’ve had all four years. They’re the class I started with; now to see them go, it’s tough. Cait’s always kind of been that consistent girl. I know within about three-tenths what she’s going to score at all times, and that’s rare to find in this sport. She may not be the highest, she’s not the lowest, but she’s
always consistent and clean, and a good anchor for us. Mia and Rachael just worked so hard. They had never done gymnastics before last year.” During the season, Wojcik became somewhat of a vault specialist and consistently competed in that event. Kaylor, according to her coach, was a “powerhouse” due to her strength and picked up on things quickly. “They’re definitely a strong class,” added Bender. “They will be missed for sure.”
The Lady Pilgrims coach was upbeat about the future of Plymouth gymnastics.
“The core four of our lineup today will all be back, so next year should lead to some big things.”
• ANGOLA 108.95, DEKALB 103.8, ELKHART 100.875, EAST NOBLE 100.65, PLYMOUTH 95.875, WAWASEE 94.45, LAKELAND 93.2, WARSAW 87.725, WEST NOBLE 74.15, EASTSIDE 34.75, BREMEN 29.325, NORTHWOOD 28.725, ROCHESTER 0.0
Vault: 6. Tessa Hutchinson 8.975, 19. Dorothy Karris 8.3, 30. Madison Umbaugh-Ward 7.9, 33. Mia Wojcik 7.6
Bars: 10. Karris 8.15, 11. Hutchinson 8.075, 26. Kasi Harner 6.825, 29. Umbaugh-Ward 6.225
Floor: 11. Karris 8.5, 16. Hutchinson 8.325, 34. Umbaugh-Ward 6.575, 37. Caitlin Davidson 6.1
Beam: 3. Hutchinson 8.925, 17. Karris 7.925, 23. Harner 7.4, 31. Umbaugh-Ward 6.85
All-around: 7. Hutchinson 34.3, 12. Karris 32. 875, 26. Umbaugh-Ward 27.55
Vault: 32. Raven White 7.65
Bars: 25. White 6.875
Floor: 22. White 7.975
Beam: 32. White 6.825
All-around: 22. White 29.325