Sydney Wrighte landed both her feet on the mat, turned toward the judges and raised her hands high. She knew she had just completed a flawless vault to defend her all-around title in the Virginia 5A North Region gymnastics meet and punch her ticket to the 5A state championship.
The sophomore from Freedom-South Riding posted a 39.025 to capture all-around honors Wednesday night in Sterling. Jennah Chang of Stafford was second at 37.991 followed by Mountain View’s Emily Brutski at 37.55. Erica Hurrell of Potomac Falls was fourth at 37.241.
Wrighte, a Level 10 gymnast who helped carry the Eagles to a Conference 21 West championship last week, got off to a hot start with a 9.7 on the uneven bars, the highest score for the event.
A first team All-Met selection in 2015, Wrighte nearly cost herself a chance to return to the all-around event at the state level when she wobbled on the beam. Wrighte finished her routine cleanly to salvage a 9.65.
“When I went for my back handspring, which is what I wobbled on, I felt really crooked. I was like, ‘No way you can fall on this. You’ve come too far,’ ” Wrighte said.
Her 9.75 on the floor and 9.925 on the vault, both good for first in their respective events, were enough to stay ahead of the pack and secure a second trip to the state meet. Wrighte says she hopes to build on her performance from the season in the 5A state championship.
“We’ve gotten better every meet. I just hope we prove ourselves and get number one,” said Wrighte, who wasn’t able to attend the state meet in 2015 because of club team commitments.
Fellow Eagle Anna Broussard, who made the state tournament last season, will join her at the state meet after scoring a 9.55 on her floor routine. Caela Flake (Stone Bridge) also advanced to states with a 9.566 on the uneven bars.
Freedom (145.832) edged Stafford (145.482) for team honors. Both schools will advance to the state meet Feb. 20 in Virginia Beach.