VALPARAISO | For the Vikings, 13 may have been an unlucky number.
The Valparaiso gymnastics team won its 13th straight Viking Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the home fieldhouse, but lost junior all-arounder Rushelle Miller to injury partway through her floor exercise.
Miller was forced to halt her floor routine after suffering an apparent foot injury. The junior was going for a precautionary X-ray after the meet, but was in good spirits and didn’t believe the injury was serious.
After the injury, Miller was unable to complete the floor exercise and did not compete in the vault. Vikings coach Lorie Cook did not tip her cards as to whether or not she believes Miller will be ready for Tuesday’s dual meet when Valparaiso hosts LaPorte.
“Injuries are a part of sports,” Cook said. “We seamlessly went on, and that’s what you do. We have team depth and that’s why you develop everybody. Rushelle’s a hard worker and she’ll be back.
“Rushelle will be in (against LaPorte) if she’s one of our top 12. That’s basically it.”
Despite the injury to Miller, Valparaiso had a strong showing and totaled 110.625 points to win the 24th annual Viking Invite. Lia Milroy finished second all-around (37.025) while Caroline Miller took first place in the vault (9.5) and Hanna Wilson won on the balance beam (9.55).
“Basically, everybody hit their routine. We didn’t have any falls and we didn’t have any extra swings,” Cook said. “That’s great, especially in a regular team format with just four kids competing (in each event). We are a team with lots of depth and that’s awesome; it’s great for dual meets. We have a lot of young kids, and it was great to see them step up and do great today.”
The Vikings scored nearly 13 more points than runner-up Huntington North while using eight gymnasts. Because of Rushelle Miller’s injury, Milroy was Valparaiso’s only all-arounder. Cook viewed the meet as a learning experience for her young squad.
“We’re getting more consistent and we’re continuing to add skills,” Cook said. “We’re going to build off of having good performances here and have the confidence to go for bigger routines (and) higher scores.”
Competing as an individual, Boone Grove sophomore Jessica Stahl finished 10th all-around (31.3).