Cassidy Feldsien strode to the beam with purpose at last Saturday's Chesterton Sectional.
The Washington Township senior performed an almost flawless routine in her final event, tying for second overall (9.6) and qualifying for Friday's Valparaiso Regional.
"I think it helped that beam is my favorite event," she said. "I just have a little more confidence."
Feldsien qualified for the regional all four years. She advanced to state as a sophomore, placing fourth on beam (9.45) and 17th in all-around (36.525).
"In all honesty, she's a beam specialist," first-year Washington Township coach Taylor Holm said.
That helped on Saturday, after Feldsien fell on her dismount on bars, her third event. The mistake rattled her, so Holm took her on a little walk to clear her head and refocus.
"The meet wasn't over yet, and she had to be able to move on," Holm said.
Neither coach nor gymnast knows if the results would have been the same if the last event hadn't been beam.
"She's just very mentally focused there," Holm said. "Everything has to be very pinpoint, and you have to have your center of balance.
"Cassidy loves repetition, and you have to put in the numbers consistently to be good on beam."
Holm and Feldisen competed together in club gymnastics, and the Michigan City grad worked with Feldsien at Platinum Gymnastics in Michigan City prior to this high school season.
"I don't think I would have taken the job in another circumstance," said Holm, who qualified for state on bars in 2006. "Working together and being close in age helps. I was in her shoes."
Feldsien bought into Holm's different viewpoint.
"She points out more of the little stuff that I need to fix, more than any other coach had before," Feldsien said.
"I am able to talk to her about everything. That makes things easier."
Now the focus is on Friday's regional, where Feldsien will be one of the first performers.
"You usually see scores climb as the meet progresses," Holm said. "She might copy her sectional routine and score just a 9.3. She just has to have a very clean routine."
Feldsien plans on majoring in speech pathology at Valparaiso next fall.
For now she hopes to end her competitive career with another state appearance.
"I'm confident that I will do my best," she said. "We'll see what happens."