HILLIARD — There is an Ohio high school gymnastics powerhouse from the Cleveland area that has created a state title monopoly, but 11 area individual gymnasts are still excited for states this weekend.
Springfield’s Kaylynn Frantz will be participating in today’s team event and Saturday’s individual competitions at Hilliard Bradley High School. It is her fourth consecutive year going to the state meet. She qualified for the beam, floor, and all-around events.
“Kaylynn is so fun to watch. She doesn’t give a lot of points away, and I think when the judges watch her, especially on the floor exercise, they can see she’s having fun,” Springfield coach Jessie Hodulik said. “Her best chance at placing is probably on the beam. She’s just pretty to watch. She always has straight legs and pointed feet. She’s solid too — doesn’t wobble.”
Frantz helped Springfield make it in the team competition, placing in the top two along with Perrysburg at districts last week at Bowling Green.
It is the Yellow Jackets’ first trip in five years as a team. Notre Dame went for the first time in program history last year as a team, but finished third at districts — one spot away from a state invitation. Maddie Humbles, a junior from Notre Dame, qualified for states again in the bars event.
Other area girls who qualified individually includes Emily Mitchell and Johanna Westrin of Perrysburg, Alexa Below and Kendall Fitchpatrick of Southview, Katherine Kroma and Rachel Krotzer of Whitmer, Alyssa Delffs of Maumee, Cassidy Pruit of Findlay, and Sophia Catera and Frantz of Springfield.
Most local coaches say the big goal of the season is just making states. Brecksville-Broadview Heights is going for its 14th consecutive state title and, last year, the Bees even won every individual event.
“It’s the cherry on top,” said Hodulik about finishing a successful season at states. “Just go down there and even if they don’t place, they get to show off their gymnastics and be there with everyone else who worked hard to make it. They get to have fun and not feel as much pressure.”
Hodulik is excited to see Catera compete at states for the first time on the vault. Hodulik says Catera is a 4-foot-9 “little powerhouse” who can spring off the table easily.
For the Perrysburg participants going, it is two different, yet gratifying, stories for coach Michelle Nordhaus-Caufman. Mitchell, a junior, is going for her third time in what has been a longtime goal of making it all four years.
Westrin has had a more difficult road.
“For Jo, it’s awesome,” Nordhaus-Caufman said of Westrin finally making it. “Because we’ve known she’s had it in her since her freshman year but injuries always got in the way. It’s so exciting for her to finally have it happen this year. On the floor she has a very dramatic routine. It’s dramatic and powerful. People stop and watch her when she goes.”
Maumee’s Alyssa Delffs is one of the top performers from the district meet last week. She won the bars and floor routine while taking fifth in all-around.
Notre Dame and Southview coach Mike McKee says Humbles and his Southview participants Fitchpatrick and Below can have good showings. Below is an all around qualifier, while Fitchpatrick will compete in the floor exercise.
“For our girls here, the main thing is to qualify for states and go out there and do the best you can and let the chips fall as they may,” he said. “They’re capable of doing very well and placing very high, but there is a lot tougher competition from the Cleveland area.”