A typical high school uneven bars routine lasts around 60 seconds.
For Hobart's Ashley Earle, that minute in Saturday's Chesterton Sectional will mean the world.
It means the Brickies senior will be able to finish her career the way she started it, with classmates Angel McCullough and Devon Curtis.
"I came to realize that if bars was the least I could do, I'd rather do that than do nothing," said Earle, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury since early in the season. "I love how close we are as a team. They make you love to be here. They push me to do my best."
In a sport where numbers are modest and attrition is not, the fact that the trio made it through high school together is a testament to the commitment and perseverance that goes with being a gymnast.
With a senior class of five, coach Jenny (Covington) Crespo believes she has the largest contingent of 12th-graders in the area. She also hazards to guess no one else has as many four-year seniors.
"There are times when people have other interests, they want to do other things, and they don't stay all four years," Curtis said. "For us to leave as seniors, having made it all four years, is really awesome. We work together better."
Curtis and McCullough are best friends, having known each other "forever" through cheerleading. McCullough is the only one with a club gymnastics background, which she did from age 6 to her freshman year. Earle took up the sport in sixth grade, Curtis in eighth.
"It's extremely hard to compete with girls in high school who have been doing it since they were 3," Curtis said.
Hobart is the last local school not named Valparaiso to win a state title, doing so in 2004. Tradition, however, doesn't run deep in the sport. Crespo, a former Brickie standout, knows how to tough it is to keep pace, especially in the region, where a score of 100, a measure of excellence in some parts of the state, doesn't get you far.
"We don't focus on beating other teams," McCullough said. "Coach always says, try to beat yourself, beat what you got the last time."
Therein lies part of the beauty of the sport. Success isn't simply gauged in wins. It's gauged incrementally, in tenths and hundredths of points. When Hobart cracked the century mark against Lowell, it wasn't a big deal in the big picture, but for the Brickies, it was enormous.
"It's been our goal the last three years," Covington said. "We're usually in the 90s. Our highest was like 97. Most of them haven't come out of a (private) gym, so for them to get 100, is amazing."
McCullough has a chance to qualify individually on balance beam, but there's a good possibility the sectional will mark the end of the season for the Brickies. With the girls all going their separate ways after graduation, that prospect is bittersweet.
"This year's been especially gratifying since we reached our goal," McCullough said. "We all came together as a team and it's finally showing in our scores. This is going to be it. I'm going to miss everyone."
For Crespo, it'll be more than replacing a group of gymnasts.
"Having them as a team, they've grown up like our own kids," she said. "It's like we're losing our kids. But they'll always be our kids."
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.