Caddo Magnet of Shreveport used a strong afternoon performance to pull away from Baton Rouge High and win the LHSAA Girls Gymnastics Championship Meet at the T.H. McCoin Athletic Complex on the former Lee High School campus Saturday.
Caddo finished with 225.10 points to 216.95 for BRHS. St. Joseph’s Academy finished in third place with 191.55.
“I’m just so happy for these girls. They’ve worked so hard, and it’s been so long — 1996 — since Caddo won the state championship,” Caddo coach Julie Anderson said.
“We have 13 seniors on our team. This was the year they were going to do it, and they knew it.”
Team scores for the meet include points scored in three separate divisions. After the Division III, Level Four competition on Saturday morning, Caddo held a slim 112.450 to 112.200 lead over BRHS. In Division II, Level 5 and Division I, Level 8 action in the afternoon, Caddo stretched its lead to the final 8.5 point margin.
“Our girls just totally melted on bars and beam,” BRHS coach Kevin Nee said. “I don’t know if it would have made a difference, but it sure did make the gap bigger. I’m happy with second place, but I just wish we’d given a better effort.”
Caddo captain KiKi Sims, the defending all-around champion, was edged for that honor by junior Sydney Ewing of Lafayette High 38.85-38.25. Ewing also won the all-around title as a freshman in 2010.
Ewing skipped the state meet last year to prepare for USA Gymnastics nationals but decided to add it to her schedule this year.
“High school meets are much more relaxed and fun than a normal (USAG) meet, which is nerve-wracking,” she said. “I had a 9.85 on the bars today and a 9.9 on floor (exercise) with was really exciting.”
Anderson was disappointed for Sims but praised her and co-captain Kristen Hulshouser.
“Everybody wants that big trophy (for individual all-around), but we got the one that matters the most. Kiki and Kristen didn’t just step up today, they stepped up this year. They led these girls all year long, and today they held them together.
“Everybody held their own. We may not have been on that podium much for individual awards, but we were consistent.”
Local top-10 finishers in Division I were Hayden Harris of Denham Springs (third), Carson Adams of East Ascension (fifth) Madison Averett of French Settlement (sixth), Kylie Sceroler of Denham Springs (seventh) Rebecca DiTusa of BRHS (eighth) and Ragan Brumfield of Denham Springs (ninth).
Catholic High-New Iberia, E.D. White and Caddo dominated Division II scoring.
The top Division II local finishers were Natalie Wilder of Runnels (14th), Abby Bertaut of St. Amant (15th) and Alyssa Young of St. Joseph’s (16th).
Sara Pauley (third) and Megan Morgan (fourth) of Baton Rouge High, along with Sara Murphy (eighth) of SJA were the only local top-10 finishers in Division III.
This was the final year for the meet to be held at the former Lee High site, and the coaches, as well as LHSAA assistant executive director B.J. Guzzardo, expressed excitement over the new venue, a gymnasium specifically designed for gymnastics at the BRHS campus on Government Street.
“The equipment will be permanent — no constant setting up and tearing down,” Nee said. “It will be nice for spectators. It’s supposed to seat about 200 with good lighting, nice restrooms and concession space. And air conditioning.”