Six weeks ago, Rachel Frisby predicted that Wadsworth’s gymnastics team was on the verge of a breakthrough season.
The Grizzlies have already proven their second-year coach to be correct.
Wadsworth is off to a great start — winning five of its first six meets — and is tied for second place in the North East Gymnastics Conference standings. The Grizzlies travel to Massillon Perry tonight for a triangular with Canton GlenOak.
“I had a feeling we would be where we are right now, but I didn’t think we would be scoring this well already,” Frisby said. “We lost four key all-arounders who were awesome base scorers last year, so that was a concern. But we’ve had so many girls stepping up to do other events, we’ve been very consistent as a group.”
Leading the way, not surprisingly, are sophomores Callie Almes and Charlotte Bates.
All-Gazette honoree Almes has already won 14 individual events, while All-Gazette honorable-mention selection Bates has two firsts and a truckload of seconds.
In high school gymnastics, however, depth is just as important as having big scorers atop a lineup.
Enter sophomore Gabby Ruff and junior Alli Petit, who have considerably increased their skill sets. Ruff has joined Almes and Bates as the Grizzlies’ all-arounders, while Petit has added the uneven parallel bars to her regimen.
“Gabby is willing to compete wherever I put her, and is working on harder skills to score even higher numbers,” Frisby said. “Alli has also stepped up her game, and we’ve been working on conditioning exercises that will make her stronger on the bars.”
Frisby also complimented the efforts of junior Haley Cleckner, who has added the vault and bars to her competition events, and freshmen Ally Mangano and Sydney Kelley, who are vaulting for the first time.
“We are having a really good year and have won most of our meets,” the coach said. “But the best part to me is the way we’re winning them. It really has been a team effort, which is what I saw in the preseason that made me so confident in what these girls could do.”
Senior Amanda Stertzbach, a three-year letterwinner, scored a career-high 32.7 in the all-around during a Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division dual at Strongsville.
In the same meet, senior Megan Chiara broke 30.0 for the first time in the all-around with a 30.1, while sophomore Amy Bruce set her personal best with a 29.95.
Stertzbach, Chiara, Nicole Ferrier and Becky May — the four 12th-graders on the Blue Devils’ roster — each made their varsity debuts as freshmen.
The next wave of Brunswick gymnasts is rising to the surface as ninth-graders Kaylee Gordon and Nicole Pryatel both recently competed in the all-around for the initial time.
Junior Maddie Brandt has won the all-around in the Colts’ first four NEGC meets and owns a Medina County-high 17 individual event victories on the season.
The All-Ohioan led the area with 23 wins in 2011-2012, when she qualified for the state meet in the maximum five events. She has 41 career victories.
Junior Robyn Tresch scored an 8.65 on the floor exercise, marking her best mark in the event since the 2011 NEGC Winter Classic. She is a two-year letterwinner.
Cloverleaf is tied with Wadsworth for second place in the NEGC at 5-1, one game behind Wooster. The Generals defeated the Colts 130.3-128.2 on Dec. 18.
Samantha Borrelli set two county season highs in an NOC quad with Brunswick, Mentor and North Royalton. She earned a 9.15 on the bars and a 9.15 on the balance beam.
Borrelli, a sophomore, also established the best local mark in the all-around with a career-high 36.35 in an NOC triangular at Hudson with Strongsville.
Senior Madeline Yurkoski, a three-year letterwinner, scored a career-high 7.65 on the vault at the prestigious Brecksville Rock-N-Roll Invitational.
Two-time All-Gazette honorees Megan Kerrigan and McKenna Baluch continue to be hampered by ankle injuries. Kerrigan is a senior, while Baluch is a junior.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.