MUNCIE — It had been since 2002 that the Chesterton gymnastics team won a state title.
Coach Dawn Matthys remembers it fondly too, sitting in the stands as her sister, Annie, was a part of that team.
On Saturday at Ball State's Worthen Arena, the Trojans capped off an unblemished season with the second-highest score in state meet history with a 114.4, putting three members on the all-around podium led by a repeat all-around title by Sophie Hunzelman.
Defending champ Valparaiso was runner-up and scored a 113.95, the fourth-highest score ever. Portage was sixth with a 108.425.
"I've watched a state title from the bleachers but to be out here coaching this team and experiencing it first hand is amazing," Matthys said. "I have nothing to complain about, the girls did great. There wasn't as much stress or pressure as there's been the last couple of years. We felt like even on our bad days that we were still doing well, so (Saturday) we came in calm and had fun.
"It means great things to do this for our school. This is something bigger. These girls that do gymnastics in club for so long really only do what they do for themselves. Being a part of a team and winning this for their school, that's so much more meaningful."
Hunzelman's total of 38.425 on the all-around made her only the second gymnast to win the all-around in her first two years, joining Valpo's Angie Cook (1993 and 1994).
The sensational soph delivered her best performance on beam with a 9.7, tying for first with Valpo's Whitney McKeon. Hunzelman finished tied for sixth on vault with teammate Lexi Avey (9.5) and second on bars (9.625). She was sixth on floor (9.6).
"Oh man, I didn't think I was going to be able to do it again," Hunzelman said about winning all-around. "This feels really good because I know that I work hard and do well every day in the gym. All our hard work finally paid off. I think I've had better beam routines before, but this one felt really good because it was my last routine of the meet, so I had to make it good."
Jordan Bush added another first for the Trojans starting off with a bang in the team's first event with a personal-record of 9.825 on floor.
"She came out hitting really big," Matthys said. "Her floor was amazing and I truly believed it was the best in the state. Her score held all day. When she hit that 9.825 it was like 'this is where we start, just grow from here.' She smiles and she performs and she enjoys every part of that routine."
She added a second on vault (9.7) and tied for fourth on bars (9.575), finishing fourth in the all-around (38.05).
"It was my mentality on floor, I came in here just thinking about staying tight," Bush said. "I always talk through my routine with my one teammate and seeing them over in the corner knowing that they're all cheering for me really helps. This feels amazing. We all came here wanting to have fun and we didn't have any pressure."
Valpo's 113.95 was a season-high led by McKeon's fifth-place all-around finish (37.75).
The Vikings posted a 29 on floor, led by a second from Lizzy Wilson (9.75), a third from Rachel Moneta (9.675) and a fifth from McKeon (9.625). Jenna Algozine tied for fourth on bars (9.575) and third on beam (9.475). Sophomore Megan Wagenblast was sixth on beam (9.375).
"The kids did awesome. We had the fourth-highest score ever," coach Lorie Cook said. "We started off on beam and got our second highest team total and to do that in the first event is awesome. Megan Wagenblast starting us off and placing sixth was absolutely fantastic for a sophomore in her only event, talk about handling pressure. That was great to see from her and that set us up.
"We went after it and we were close. We put the pressure on and Chesterton was just a little bit better. Our kids did a great job and stayed the course all the way through, not ever giving an inch and fighting all the way through to the season to the last event. That's kind of what it's all about. We want strong kids and that's what we showed, a lot of grit."
Portage was led by Michaella Drake's 12th-place in the all-around (36.4); her best finish came on bars (T10th, 9.275).