VALPARAISO | The Valparaiso gymnastics team completed its regular season Thursday with an 111.625-107.55 Duneland Athletic Conference dual win over Merrillville.
Sophomore Lia Milroy won the all-around (37.675) for Valparaiso with first-place finishes on the bars (9.5) and balance beam (9.575). Emily Lynch won the vault (9.3), and Rushelle Miller took first in the floor exercise (9.5) for the Vikings, while Merrillville’s Heather Osorio finished second all-around (9.350).
“It finishes our regular season undefeated, and undefeated in the conference,” Valparaiso coach Lorie Cook said. “We have the best conference in the state, so that’s a huge source of pride for us. We knew we would need to perform well, and our kids stepped up to the challenge.”
Both the Vikings and Pirates will compete next in the Duneland Athletic Conference meet March 1 at Crown Point. After sectionals at Chesterton on March 8, Valparaiso will host the ISHAA regional meet in the school’s main gym March 14.
“Regionals, for me, it’s my favorite meet,” Cook said. “The kids get to compete in front of a lot of their peers, and they work extremely hard day in and day out, six days a week. It’s really nice for them to have that recognition in front of their peers.
“It would be great to have all home meets, to be honest, but it doesn’t quite work that way. I would say it’s an advantage, but we went to Portage and won, too, so that was nice.”
Merrillville coach Diane Roberts acknowledged both Valparaiso’s home advantage and her team’s struggles in away meets.
“Our first meet of the year was on the road, and we lost. Our meet against Valpo was our second away meet of the season, and we lost,” Roberts said. “Clearly, we need to figure out how to compete in someone else’s gym as we compete in our own gym and the comforts of our own equipment and our own matting arrangements.”