Arousha Youssefi, 16, a junior at Chantilly High School, had no trouble capturing her third consecutive all-around title at the Northern Region Gymnastics Championships last night at Centreville High School.
A favorite going into the competition, Youssefi turned in a combined score of 37.7, handily defeating a field of 38 in the individual event portion of the competition.
Becky Hayter of South Lakes took second place with 35.9 combined points. The 35.75 turned in by Michelle Bolter of Jefferson and Kim Horton of South Lakes created a tie for third place.
Youssefi's night wasn't without its difficulties, however. She fell off the balance beam -- her last event -- while attempting a layout back tuck. Although it wasn't enough to drop her from first place all-around, it did land her a second-place finish in the beam behind Horton.
"I just didn't get up high enough," she said. "I had a feeling I wasn't going to make it going into the event. I'm just glad the beam was my last event. Otherwise I would have been in a negative mood during the whole competition."
Instead, she won the floor exercise with a score of 9.7, the uneven bars (9.55) and the vault (9.55).
Hayter took thirds in floor exercise and vault.
Youssefi said she felt the pressure to win a third consecutive all-around title, especially since she's been battling ankle and knee problems this season.
"I still have a strained or pulled tendon in my right knee," she said. "Rest is the only remedy for that, but I can't rest. The competitions just keep coming."
Hayter wasn't disappointed with her second place finish, but she wasn't totally satisfied, either. "Things could have been better," she said. "I wasn't pleased with the bars or the beam, and the beam is my best event. I did a new trick on the floor, though, a full-twisting layout, and that made me happy."
While Youssefi and Hayter do not attend the same school, competing in gymnastics has made them friends.
"I like competing against Arousha," said Hayter. "She pushes me to do better but I can still cheer for her."
The team competition of the Northern Regionals will be held tonight at Centreville High School with events beginning at 6 p.m. South Lakes will be defending its title against Centreville, Fairfax, Annandale, Chantilly and Thomas Jefferson.
The two top teams from each of the four regions plus the top six in each individual event and the top three all-arounds will advance to the Virginia state championships Feb. 22-23 in Menchville.
1, Arousha Youssefi, Chantilly, 37.7; 2, Becky Hayter, South Lakes, 35.9; 3, Kim Horton, South Lakes, and Michelle Bolter, Jefferson, 35.75.
1, Kim Horton, South Lakes, 9.15; 2, Arousha Youssefi, Chantilly, 8.9; 3, Mindy Quass, Wakefield, 8.85.
1, Arousha Youssefi, Chantilly, 9.7; 2, Jen Chu, South Lakes, 9.4; 3, Becky Hayter, South Lakes 9.10.
1, Arousha Youssefi, Chantilly, 9.55; 2, Anne Weise, West Springfield, and Catherine Smith, Edison, 9.25.
1, Arousha Youssefi, Chantilly, 9.55; 2, Jen Chu, South Lakes, 9.4; 3, Becky Hayter, South Lakes 9.25.