Injury might have been the only thing that could have held Julia Konner back at Tuesday’s Montgomery County gymnastics championships at Walter Johnson. And although the Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior was a bit hobbled, due to a left ankle injury she sustained in a competition a couple of weeks earlier, even that wasn’t enough.
Konner swept all four individual events and cruised to the all-around title for the second straight year and third overall, helping B-CC capture its second consecutive county championship and sixth out of seven.
“I was afraid it would hold me back, but it was fine,” said Konner, a returning All-Met. “I was a little afraid to warm up sometimes. I didn’t want to make it worse or hurt it while I was competing, but once you start doing it, you kind of forget about it and get into the routine.”
Konner’s performance helped provide a celebratory send-off for Barons Coach Dana Creager, who is retiring after this season, with seven county titles to her credit in 13 years.
“It’s a nice way to go out,” Creager said. “These seniors are such hard workers and such great role models and so I’m happy that I got to be here the four years with them.”
B-CC finished with a team score of 177.1, well ahead of Walter Johnson (169.875) and Whitman (158.875). That blew away their winning number of 172.045 from last season and according to Creager, was the highest the team had reached “in a long time.”
“This group of girls competes really well,” she said. “They fight for their skills, they stick their routines, they just do really well with adrenaline.”
Konner’s lowest event was the floor exercise, where she got a solid 9.425. She also notched a 9.55 on vault and a 9.6 on both the balance beam and uneven bars, giving her a total of 38.175. Last year, her total was 37.675.
Walter Johnson’s Grace Leslau was second at 35.825, and B-CC’s Julia Kaplan was third at 35.200.
After Konner hurt her ankle in a meet against Blair, the coaches made sure to keep it taped and also cut down on her warmups and tumbling. If any of that had an effect, it didn’t show.
“She’s just a phenomenal gymnast and wants so much to help the team,” Creager said. “The girls, I think they rely on her almost too much sometimes, but she knows if she has a good meet, the team will have a good meet. So she works really hard, and even though she’s injured, will compete to help the team.”
For Konner, who will compete at Sacramento State next year, it was a perfect finish.
“It’s just really something I wanted to have this senior year, to end on a high note,” she said.