HILLIARD — Megan Kerrigan remembers the exact moment when Medina began its journey to the 2013 state team gymnastics meet.
It came one year ago at the Painesville Riverside District, the same spot where the Bees punched their ticket to state over the weekend.
“I remember how we all felt last year because it was such a bummer,” said Kerrigan, a senior. “We gave it all we could, but we weren’t good enough. We didn’t have what it took to get to state.
“That was the day that led all of us to work our butts off all summer to get ready for this season.”
Medina’s offseason of hard work paid off with its first trip to the state meet in seven years, along with Medina County’s first trip to the event since Wadsworth in 2007.
The Bees claimed the fourth of five district berths by scoring a season-high 137.5 points at the Riverside Fieldhouse, setting off a celebration that hasn’t subsided all week. It will peak today at 3 p.m., when they begin competing at Hilliard Bradley High in suburban Columbus.
“This is a very unique team because each member is expected to contribute to our score in order for us to be successful,” Bees coach Darcy Ranallo said. “Everyone knows they have to perform to their potential, but they also seem oblivious to the pressure at big meets.
“All of our girls have done a great job making improvements throughout the season, and I expect that to continue into this weekend.”
While Kerrigan and sophomore Samantha Borrelli competed at the state individual meet last winter, this will be the “big stage” debut for the other six girls on Medina’s roster.
However, senior Madeline Yurkoski, juniors Gabby Lynskey and McKenna Baluch, and sophomores Kira Palmer, Natalie Radice and Shannon Moran all helped the Bees win the Medina Sectional championship three weeks ago, so nerves should not be a major factor.
“What’s there to be worried about?” Borrelli said, laughing. “We have now carried on the Medina legacy of the great Emelie Rymer, so it’s all good for us.”
Borrelli, Lynskey and Palmer will follow in more of Rymer’s footsteps Saturday at the state individual meet. Cloverleaf sophomore Maddie Brandt and Wadsworth sophomore Callie Almes also will compete at Hilliard Bradley when the action begins at 11 a.m.
Borrelli (all-around, balance beam, uneven parallel bars, floor exercise) and Brandt (all-around, vault, floor) earned multiple bids for the second straight season, while Almes (beam), Palmer (floor) and Lynskey (beam) grabbed one state berth apiece.
Almes is the first Grizzlies gymnast to qualify for state since Ginny Gegick in 2010. That accomplishment is even more special because Wadsworth coach Rachel Frisby also has been Almes’ club coach since elementary school.
“Words cannot express how happy and proud I am of Callie,” Frisby said. “She has the heart of a champion and has pushed herself every day to get this far.
“She truly deserves this moment — and I can’t wait to see her achieve her goals at state. I know she will do awesome.”
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.