Gymnastics

Portage junior gymnast Solis force on vault

2013-02-17T18:00:00Z 2013-03-06T18:44:06Z Portage junior gymnast Solis force on vaultJim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com
February 17, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Vault hasn't always been an enjoyable event for Portage junior gymnast Danielle Solis.

"It wasn't my favorite when I started out," said Solis, who joined the sport she was 5 years old. "I've been doing it for a while, and I began to get pretty decent at it.

"It's a great feeling to get that high in the air."

Solis is also enjoying some high marks on the apparatus. She finished third in the state last year (9.725), and she owns the state's top-recorded score this season. Her 9.825 was crucial in a Feb. 6 Duneland Athletic Conference win over then top-ranked Valparaiso.

"I just told myself, 'How badly do you want this?'" said Solis, whose Indians won the meet 112.475-112.25. "As soon as I felt the ground (on a Yurchenko Layout), I knew had a great vault.

"I probably had the biggest smile on my face. It was great."

The current No. 1 Indians have three vaulters among the top 10 scorers this season, and Solis leads the way.

"She is really powerful," Portage coach Karen Barcelli said. "She has absolutely beautiful body position. Her form is impeccable."

Solis is hardly standing pat. While she has sparkled on vault, the uneven bars proves to be the toughest event for Solis.

One required move -- an overshoot -- is still held in reserve, until the coaching staff and Solis feel comfortable to perform the maneuver. The dismount has been simplified, and Barcelli wants to make sure Solis masters that before adding the overshoot.

"I kind of have a mind block with it," Solis said. "It's frustrating, but I'm working on it."

Even with lower scores on bars, Solis still has the sixth-highest all-around score in the state this season (37.9).

"She's not even scoring a nine on bars, and she's still over 37," Barcelli said. "She knows she has room to grow."

Solis gained confidence in the win over the No. 2 Vikings, in which she defeated defending state vault champion Morgan Algozine by .125 points. Algozine, also the defending all-around champ, owns the state finals best-ever vault score (9.95), which she did at last year's meet.

Those numbers keep Solis grounded when it comes to Saturday's DAC meet against Valparaiso, the defending meet champs.

"I think we're still the underdog," Solis said. "We're still fighting to get to the top.

"We had some missteps (in the dual), and I think we want to improve. We just have to hit four for four on our events and hope for the best."

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