MUNCIE | Portage coach Karen Barcelli had a smile on her face Saturday afternoon.
She realizes that the Indians' fourth-place finish at the IHSAA state gymnastics finals might just be the beginning for her program.
"Our goal was to medal, and we did just that," said Barcelli, whose team scored 108.425. "That's great to say -- since we haven't been here for 37 years."
The Indians' last state finals appearance as a team came in 1975, also the year Portage won its lone state crown.
"We were able to see what we need to do," Barcelli said. "We showed what could expected of the team."
Sophomore Danielle Solis led the way for the youthful squad, placing third on vault (9.725), seventh on floor (9.4) and ninth all-around (36.7).
"This shows what I can do," said Solis, who was an individual qualifier last season. "I wasn't as nervous because the team was here.
"As an individual, it's just about your performance. You're able to focus more, because you're doing this to help the team.
"I was tense, but I do better when I'm nervous. My coaches also tell me that."
Junior Mackenzie Barcelli, the coach's daughter, was eighth on bars (9.4) and 11th in all-around (36.5). Freshman Madison Kurtz was 22nd in all-around (35.175), including 11th on vault (9.425).
"We're a pretty young team," Solis said, "and we're going to have people continue to step up. They can back us up."
Solis feels like this experience was definitely a confidence booster for her, including a tie for her season best on vault.
"I feel like I was able to end this season with a bang," Solis said. "I think we can continue to get much better from here."