April 23, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
47°F

Medina sophomore dazzles, wins Gymnast of Year

MEDINA — The Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division Meet turned into a coronation party for Samantha Borrelli.

The Medina sophomore claimed league titles in the all-around, vault and uneven parallel bars Saturday, earning Gymnast of the Year honors in arguably the top conference in the state.

Samantha Borrelli

“This was an amazing day,” Borrelli said with a broad smile. “It’s good to know what I can do when I hit almost everything that I try.

“Really, I couldn’t have done much better today with everything out there, except for my beam.”

Borrelli tied her career high by scoring a 36.35 in the all-around, easily outdistancing Hudson’s Mackenzie Miller (35.8) and Logan Custer (35.725) for first place. Strongsville’s Hayley Klosowski (35.4) and Melissa Loy (34.725) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The 2012 state meet qualifier also earned a career-high 9.4 on the bars and a Medina County season-best 9.2 on the vault. Miller (9.1) was the runner-up on the former, while Mentor’s Jordan Beebe (9.15) took second in the latter event.

“Bars was amazing because I finally hit the one skill I’ve been struggling on for a long time with my uphill,” Borrelli said. “Vault was great, too, because I’ve worked on it all summer — and it finally paid off today.”

Borrelli also was the runner-up on the floor exercise with a 9.3, which Custer won with a 9.325.

Making those numbers even more impressive, she began the meet by falling off the balance beam twice and only scored an 8.45.

“My first event went rough, but my teammates really picked me up and helped me get it together,” Borrelli said. “The rest of the day turned out the way I had hoped it would.”

Fellow Bees sophomore Kira Palmer also continued her fine season with three top-seven finishes. She earned a spot on the podium by placing fifth on the beam (8.85), and added sevenths on the floor (9.15) and all-around (34.55).

Palmer and Borrelli counted scores in each event as Medina’s team finished fourth (135.425), less than a point behind third-place North Royalton (136.05). Regular-season champion Strongsville (139.65) won the title over Hudson (139.275).

Bees sophomore Natalie Radice posted the county’s third-best score in the all-around with a 32.425 and counted scores in three events, as did junior Gabby Lynskey.

“Today was a good learning experience for us going into sectionals next week,” Radice said. “We’re going to see all of these teams at districts, so it’s nice to know what they can do and what we have to improve on.”

Mentor was fifth (126.825), while Brunswick finished sixth (124.6) as it used the meet to refine routines for the Medina Sectional.

Blue Devils senior Amanda Stertzbach led the way with a 32.325 in the all-around and a team-best 8.675 on the floor. She added an 8.5 on the beam and counted scores in every event.

“I was a little shaky on bars, but everything else went pretty well today,” the four-year letterwinner said.

Brunswick senior Becky May, who scored a 31.9 in the all-around, performed an elaborate beam routine that emphasized her athleticism. The judges rewarded her creativity and skills with a team-high 8.65 that placed ninth overall.

“Becky did a very good job, and I thought that was the best beam performance of her career,” Blue Devils coach Michelle Miller said. “I’m really happy for her because she’s worked so hard on it.”

Freshman Nicole Pryatel (29.1), senior Nicole Ferrier (28.975) and sophomore Amy Bruce (28.9) also competed in the all-around for Brunswick, which had seven gymnasts contribute to its team score.

“Today was really good for their confidence, especially since this was only the third meet for some of our freshmen,” Miller said.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.