PORTAGE | Mackenzie Barcelli capped off an emotional night with a record-tying performance in the floor exercise, but that wasn’t what the Portage senior will remember from her final home gymnastics meet.
The state-No. 1-ranked Indians set a school-record team score with a 112.65-108.675 win over No. 6 Chesterton on Wednesday night.
Portage’s point total eclipses the 112.495 points the Indians scored last week in a win over then-No. 1 Valparaiso.
“Breaking the school record as a team is what will last with me the longest,” Barcelli said. “We were shaky on the beam and not so high on the bars. I didn’t think we were going to be at a 112.”
The Indians (8-0) capped an undefeated Duneland Athletic Conference and regular season heading into sectionals where Portage will be in the unusual position of being the favorites.
“It feels great to know that when we walk in the gym other teams feel threatened by us,” Barcelli said. “We don’t have to look at them and worry about being better than them. We need to worry about being better than we were the last meet.”
The evening started with recognition of four Portage seniors, including Barcelli. Once the meet started, Portage coach Karen Barcelli was too busy critiquing the gymnasts to get caught up in the emotions of the night.
“Having the seniors compete for the final time will catch up with me eventually,” Karen Barcelli said. “To be honest, I didn’t see a perfect meet. I was concentrating on all the places where we can improve the next time we go out there.”
Barcelli (38.125) edged out Chesterton’s Brandi Tuzinski (38.075) with a 9.8 on the floor exercise, tying the school record previously set by Julie Witka (1990) and Rebecca Brajcki (1999).
Tuzinski took home top honors in bars (9.525) and beam (9.55), while Portage’s Danielle Solis won vault (9.65). The Trojans set a season-high with their team score.
“Today was really the first time that everything came together for us across the board,” Chesterton coach Lauren West said. “Every girl out there earned their scores tonight.”