Gymnastics

Valparaiso gymnasts win eighth straight sectional crown

2011-03-05T19:30:00Z 2011-03-08T06:19:36Z Valparaiso gymnasts win eighth straight sectional crownBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com

CHESTERTON | Morgan Algozine doesn't mind cheering on her teammates, but the Valparaiso sophomore really loves to compete.

Algozine missed last week's Duneland Athletic Conference meet with an unspecified injury, but she made a triumphant return to the lineup at Saturday's Chesterton Sectional.

Algozine placed first in every event she competed in, taking floor (9.775), bars (9.675) and tying with LaPorte's Corynn Myers for the beam crown (9.35).

More importantly to Algozine, she helped reverse last week's loss to Chesterton and led the Vikings to their eighth straight sectional crown.

"We worked harder this week and did what we should have done last week," Algozine said.

"I love cheering on the team, but competing is so much better. I wanted to help out, and this felt so much better."

Second-ranked Valparaiso defeated the host No. 3 Trojans 112.925-111.475 for the crown.

"Our girls are very, very determined," Valparaiso coach Lorie Cook, whose program won its 19th crown. "They have a lot of pride. I was sure the kids would respond with a good performance."

Steffanie Long sent the Vikings out on a high note by nailing her vault routine with an event-best 9.7.

"That was the exclamation point to help finish things off," Cook said. "Everybody stepped up today."

Chesterton didn't repeat last week's finish, but the Trojans did post a season-best team score. Chesterton took three of the top-four places on floor and finished with an impressive 29.125.

"That was amazing," Chesterton coach Kathy Wilburn said. "They all came together at the same time.

"Last week it was beam, and now this week it was floor. I believe we have confidence in every event."

After qualifying for regional on just beam last season, Washington Twp. sophomore Cassidy Feldsien placed fifth in all-around (36.85) in her sectional return.

"This is so much better," she said. "I just don't have to concentrate on one event all week. I get to work on everything."

No. 4 LaPorte edged No. 7 Portage 109-525-108.975 for the final regional qualifying spot. Slicers junior Abaigale Light won all-around (37.575) to help her team.

Even though the Indians didn't repeat last season's regional berth, sophomore Mackenzie Barcelli and freshman Danielle Solis advanced. Barcelli was third in all-around (37.325), while her teammate was sixth (36.825).

Crown Point junior Carly Kiran didn't finish in the top six on floor, but her 9.55 exceeded the regional qualifying standard (9.525).

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