When Lake Braddock was announced the team winner at the Northern Region Gymnastics Meet at Chantilly last Saturday it was not surprising, as the Bruins had been the champions for three out of four seasons, including the last two. What was surprising, however, was that the judges found a discrepancy in the scoring in favor of rival West Springfield, invalidating the announcement of Lake Braddock as the victor and giving the Spartans their first ever regional title, 106.5-105.85.
West Springfield had been runnerup to the Bruins many times, including last season when Lake Braddock won the Virginia AAA meet. But the Bruins have not dominated this season as injuries led them to low finishes in invitationals throughout the year.
Last Saturday West Springfield, also plagued by injuries for some big meets this season, bounced back from a .5 point deficit going into the final rotation, the bars. The Spartans pulled off four powerful bars routines, qualifying all four gymnasts for the state meet in the event, to score 28.05 points on the apparatus and pull ahead of the defending regional champion by .20.
"I was very pleased. It was very exciting. The girls were very tough on bars," said West Springfield Coach Gerry Royals. "It was quite a few years in coming."
Sophomore LeeAnne Revell won that event with a 9.5, while teammates Kristi Graves, Rachel Griffin and Krista Anderson finished third, fourth and sixth respectively. Revell, the regional all-around runnerup (see profile) and the Northern District all-around champion a week before, had an outstanding meet as she also won the balance beam with 8.85 points. Revell's performances on the vault (8.75) and floor (8.35) fell short of her usually high scores and dropped her to second place in all-around competition by just .15 points. Teammate Leigh Ullman was second on the beam (8.8) and first on the floor with 9.3.
Lake Braddock was also strong on the uneven bars. Misty Minger, last year's state all-around runnerup, finished second on the apparatus for the Bruins with a 9.45 after an injury early in the season limited her to just one event. The Bruins' Shannon Propps, the regional all-around champion with 35.6 points, was fifth in the event with a 9.05.
Propps also finished second in the vault behind Jenny Kinzli of Falls Church and tied for fifth with Annandale's Lori Snoots on the balance beam.
Robinson's Kari Ellison was third in the all-around competition with a 35.25. The top three all-around gymnasts and top six finishers in each event go to the state meet for individual championships. Lake Braddock and West Springfield teams will once again face each other in the state meet tomorrow and Saturday at Frank Cox High School in Virginia Beach.