Loudoun Valley sophomore Shannon Cain has room to tweak her performance after the AA Dulles District gymnastics championships. However, her consistent showing in all four events led to the district all-around title and left Cain confident heading into this week's state qualifying meet.
"I was really focused and really excited," said Cain, who will lead the local contingent Friday at Broad Run. "I made sure I was well rested. I wish I might have done a little better in the beam or the bars, but I'm really pleased with how I did."
Cain won the vault and the uneven bars and finished second in the balance beam and floor exercise to win the all-around title with 36.25 points last Saturday at Stone Bridge. Stone Bridge freshman Allison Burkett was second with 34.85 points, and Loudoun Valley junior Alicia Essex won the beam and floor exercise to finish third with 34.675 points.
Behind Cain, Essex and senior Krystle Hollingsworth (fourth at 34.05), the Vikings cruised to the team title with 138.7 points. Park View was second with 119.725, behind Joanna Quinn (fifth place, 32.325 points) and Catherine Smathers (sixth, 30.475). Potomac Falls was third with 111.4.
Loudoun Valley earned its second consecutive Dulles District title.
"We definitely push each other," Cain said of the Vikings' top trio. "It's not a competition, but we do try to help each other do our best."
The meet was the final team competition of the year for local schools. Athletes who reach a minimum standard at the state qualifier Friday will be eligible for the state tournament on Feb. 15 in Virginia Beach.
Cain, Burkett, Essex and Hollingsworth were the only ones who scored higher than 8.4 in any event at the district meet. But Cain had the most complete all-around performance in the final meet before the qualifier.
Her best showing was in the vault, which she won with 9.2 points, and the floor exercise, in which she finished second with 9.35. Burkett and Essex finished well behind her because of errors in a single event.
Burkett had a very strong floor exercise (9.3) and vault (9.125) but fell during the uneven bars to finish fourth at 7.825. Still, Burkett said overcoming the nerves of her first district meet was not too difficult.
"I wanted to get top three [all-around], although I didn't necessarily think I'd make it," she said. "I'm really happy with what I was able to do today. . . . I was nervous at the beginning, but once I started to warm up, I was pretty comfortable."
Essex was nearly flawless in winning the floor exercise with 9.475, and her 8.975 was best on the balance beam. Essex took second in uneven bars at 8.325. But in the vault, Essex fell on both attempts while trying to complete a difficult Tsukahara and finished 15th.
The vault is one of Essex's best events, though, and she is confident about rebounding on Friday.
"It's all right," Essex said. "Mishaps happen. I obviously could have done better in the vault, but I'll just make up for that at the qualifier."
Team Scores -- 1, Loudoun Valley 138.7; 2, Park View 119.725; 3, Potomac Falls 111.4; 4, Heritage 96.675; 5, Stone Bridge 93.425; 6, Broad Run 61.1.
All-Around -- 1, Shannon Cain, Loudoun Valley, 36.25; 2. Allison Burkett, Stone Bridge, 34.85; 3. Alicia Essex, Loudoun Valley, 34.675; 4. Krystle Hollingsworth, Loudoun Valley, 34.050; 5. Joanna Quinn, Park View, 32.325; Vault -- 1, Cain, 9.2; 2, Burkett, 9.125; 3. Jackie Huamani, Park View, 8.4; Uneven Bars -- 1, Cain, 8.75; 2, Essex, 83.25; 3, Hollingsworth, 8.125; Balance Beam -- 1, Essex, 8.975; 2, Cain, 8.95; 3, Elizabeth Andrews, Loudoun Valley, 8.8; Floor Exercise -- 1, Essex, 9.475; 2, Cain, 9.35; 3, Burkett, 9.3.