In its first regional championship meet as a Virginia High School League AAA team, Freedom-South Riding rode a first-place all-around performance from sophomore Arianna Robinson to victory Saturday in the Northwest Region gymnastics championships at Stafford.
Robinson, who joined the Eagles this season after competing solely for her club team as a freshman, placed fourth or better in all four events and earned the top spot on the vault and the uneven bars. She finished fourth on the floor exercise and second on the balance beam despite a fall during her routine.
“It felt about the same as any other competition, because I’ve competed so often that I know what to expect of myself,” Robinson said. “It feels really good, because this is my first year of doing high school gymnastics.”
First-year Freedom-South Riding Coach Laura Wrighte, who lobbied Robinson to get her to join the team, said she was impressed — but not surprised — with Robinson’s all-around total of 38.175. Wrighte noted how consistently Robinson has performed all season.
“It’s very common. That’s why we’re so happy to have her as part of the team,” Wrighte said. “Competing for a high school, it’s such a team-oriented thing and actually, we kind of tend to count on her. Which is great, because she’s so consistent.”
Stafford’s Ashley Hinton (37.4) was runner-up to Robinson in the all-around. Colonial Forge’s Ashley Elston and North Stafford’s Anika Woodard finished in a tie for third at 37.225.
As a team, Freedom-South Riding (144.225) beat out second-place Stafford (143.8). Battlefield, the two-time defending region champs, finished third with 142.775.
Beyond Robinson’s strong performance, Wrighte said she was looking forward to bringing the Eagles as a team to their first state championship meet. She said the depth that has served Freedom-South Riding’s for much of the season will again be critical in next week’s championship meet at Salem High in Virginia Beach.
“Our team in general all season has been very strong,” she said. “We have a lot of depth. Every meet, we had a tough time deciding who was going to compete, which is obviously a great problem to have. I’ve never had that as a coach.”