VALPARAISO | For Chesterton sophomore Brandi Tuzinski, the Valparaiso Regional was somewhat bittersweet, but she was still able to make the most of her performances.
Tuzinski finished third in the beam (9.6) and finished tied for fourth in the vault (9.2), qualifying in both events for the March 17 state finals at Ball State University.
As a team, Chesterton finished fourth with 105.45 points, missing the team qualifying cut of the top two teams. Though her team won't be with her this time at state, Tuzinski was still very pleased with her two qualifying events.
"For me, beam was awesome," she said. "I was (satisfied with the vault). I hadn't flipped all week. I hadn't actually went for anything."
Tuzinski finally getting the confidence to flip on her vault routine impressed Chesterton coach Lauren West.
"I was really proud of her because it was one of those mental things," West said. "She told me before she went ‘I feel it, it's going to be fine.' As she was running, she had that look in her eyes. She's tough."
West was satisfied overall with her young team's performance, and looks forward to Tuzinski's competition at state.
"I know she's upset she won't get to go with her teammates, but I'm excited for her to get that experience again," West said. "It will prepare her that much more for next year."
Battling through pain
LaPorte senior Abaigale Light battled through a right hip flexor injury during the Regional, and was able to finish fourth in the beam (9.55).
After qualifying for state as an all-arounder last season, Light will only be participating in the beam this year. She's still the first LaPorte gymnast in recent memory to qualify for state for four consecutive years.
"It's sore, but I don't know if it really affected my gymnastics," said a visibly upset Light. "I kind of had a rough start and it carried over to bars. It was just an off meet."
LaPorte assistant coach Emily Crabtree gave Light credit for fighting through the pain.
"That's a tough injury to fight through," she said. "That's the one muscle that's used all the time, so it's hard. I'm very proud of what she did today, and she should be proud."
Disbelief and disappointment
Washington Township junior Cassidy Feldsien could only stand in disbelief at what had just occurred.
After qualifying for state in every event last season and finishing tied for fourth at state in the beam (9.45), Feldsien finished with an 8.95 in the same event at Friday's regional.
"I don't know, really, I did the same routine," Feldsien said, admitting she was surprised at the score. "I'm just really disappointed."