MUNCIE | Top-ranked Valparaiso's four-year winning streak came to an end Saturday afternoon, but the Vikings didn't give up without a fight.
Spurred by junior Morgan Algozine's state and school-record 9.95 on vault -- Valpo's last event -- the Vikings tried to rally from a 1.475-point deficit in the final rotation.
Fort Wayne Dwenger, who scored 26.1 on beam at last week's regional, answered the challenge with a 27.725 at Ball State's Worthen Arena and edged the Vikings, 112.55-111.975.
"I'm extremely proud of our girls," said Valparaiso coach Lorie Cook, whose team holds state records for overall (nine) and consecutive championships. "We just came up a little short today.
"Props to Dwenger. That was their best meet of the year."
Saints coach Rose Nix gave credit to the Vikings for pushing her team to this title.
"We've been on the rise all year," said Nix, whose team now has five crowns. "We knew we had to hit it to win."
"Valparaiso is an awesome team. They kept us very focused."
At one point, Valparaiso was in third place, but the Vikings passed Portage on their third rotation, floor.
Algozine won floor (9.675) and vault, leading the way to the all-around crown (38.75), as the team never thought it was out of striking distance.
"We always think we can win," Cook said. "We will always fight to the end -- no matter."
Algozine showed poise under pressure on the second attempt of her Yurchenko layout vault, sticking the landing.
"I was having trouble with it the last two years," Algozine said. "I've done it very well this year.
"It made me feel great. Going out there and doing that is a great feeling."
But Algozine's post-meet emotions were tempered.
"Everybody wants to win," she said. "We did our best. (Dwenger) was the better team.
"This provides us huge motivation for next year. We want to get back here and win."
Cook is also motivated for next season, but she understands the impact of their graduation losses: Katelyn McBride, Allie Lazerwitz (20th on vault, 23rd on bars) and Allyson Kraft (13th on floor).
"We had a great group of seniors," Cook said. "They were amazing leaders."
Emily Crosmer placed third on floor and Hannah Erwin tied for fourth. Both scored 9.45s.