At the first team meeting of the year, before any mats were laid out or hands chalked, first-year Battlefield gymnastics Coach Mary Henry asked her team what it wanted to accomplish. The answer came quick from the senior-heavy squad: The Bobcats wanted to get back to states
After a one-year hiatus from the state meet, the Bobcats are headed back to the state championship meet next Saturday at Centreville
Virginia Beach after placing second in the Northwest Region championship Thursday night at Freedom-South Riding.
Battlefield earned the bid to next weekend’s championship meet with a team score of 138.400, just over six points short of first-place Stafford’s 144.950. The Bobcats, who didn’t have an individual place higher than fifth in any single event, beat third-place Brooke Point by four points.
The Bobcats’ top all-around competitor was senior Kassie Krivo, who finished eighth with a score of 34.475. June Mumo’s fifth-place finish in the floor exercise was the best individual performance, an indication of the Bobcats’ depth and experience.
“That’s why we’re here. It’s a true team. We don’t have any superstars,” Henry said. “With six seniors, they all have experience, they’ve all been here, and it really showed tonight.”
Osbourn Park, which won three straight region titles from 2007 to 2009, finished fourth with a score of 132.125. Defending region champion and host Freedom-South Riding competed without All-Met Arianna Robinson and placed fifth. Robinson, who won two events and the all-around at regional meet last year, is competing solely for her club team this season.
Like Robinson, many top gymnasts in the region split time between their high school and club teams, or compete for club teams exclusively. The Bobcats, now bound for the state meet next weekend, feature no club gymnasts.
“They’re true high school kids. With club, there is no social life,” Henry said. “We have cheerleaders, we have cross-country girls. I think that’s what’s so special about this group.”
Brooke Point’s Dylana Wilhelm was the top individual gymnast of the evening, earning first place in the all-around with a score of 38.225. Stafford’s Ashley Hinton, an All-Met honorable mention last season, was second (37.625). Siobhan Bernard from North Stafford rounded out the top three in the all-around with a score of 37.375.
“It means so much to us, especially after missing it last year,” Krivo, the top all-around scorer from Battlefield, said of her team’s impending return to the state meet. “This has been our goal from the very start. It just feels so great to have accomplished it.”