Silver Chips Online

Blair gymnastics wins state competition

Blazers place first at states

By Allison Daitch, Online Managing Editor
May 20, 2011
The Blair girls’ gymnastics team won first place in the Maryland state competition in Anne Arundel County on May 11. This was the first time Blair gymnastics has won the division and state title in the 10 years since the program was created.

The Lady Blazers pose with their first place award at the state competition in Anne Arundel County. Courtesy of Sophie Seidell
The Lady Blazers pose with their first place award at the state competition in Anne Arundel County.
After placing second at counties to Walter Johnson (WJ), the Lady Blazers moved on to compete for the Bi-County title against the top two teams from the two counties that have gymnastics programs, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County. Blair took first place with a score of 167.925, WJ scored second with 160.775, Severna Park placed third with 156.15 and Old Mill placed fourth with 154.3. Other competitors came from both counties’ all-star teams, teams consisting of select gymnasts from the county competition to participate in individual events at the state competition.

A notable Blazer performance came from senior Sophie Seidell who placed second on beam with 9.3, second on floor with 9.3, fourth on vault with 8.9, fourth on bars with 8.9, and third all around with 36.4. Sophomore Kayla McCaw also tied for sixth place in beam with a 9.0. These strong individual performances along with solid scores from all of the Blazers contributed to their overall winning score."We won because we have a solid team which meant that everyone was getting between seven and nine on every event," senior co-captain Claire Hoffman said.

Hoffman and coach Hillary Wynn attribute the Blazers’ success over WJ, who placed first over Blair in counties, to the absence of WJ's strongest competitors. WJ's team has two level 10 gymnasts that participated during counties, but the girls were competing in nationals during the state competition, which hurt WJ's overall score. A level 10 gymnast is extremely skilled, almost at elite status. Even with WJ’s top two gymnasts absent, Wynn was unsure about the outcome of the meet. "Competition was close – the scores vary between a couple of tenths and that is the difference between winning and losing," she said. "We knew it would be close with WJ at the end, so the pressure was on to stick all events by all competitors."

Wynn thought the Blazers performed especially well in their floor routines where the gymnasts incorporated more advanced tumbling techniques and skills. "They all did a great job and I am very proud of how they handled the pressure, their nerves and focused," Wynn said. "I couldn't have asked for them to be any better."

The line up and routines were the same as those performed during the county competition. Hoffman praised the girls for making quick last minute adjustments to the equipment."We had to overcome some challenges with the equipment," she said. "A lot of it was old or couldn't expand to the size we are used to, but we did well considering."

Wynn attributed the win to the girls' determination and strong attitudes. "Contributing factors are their competitive nature, their wanting to better themselves and each other, and their great attitude and work efforts," Wynn said. Wynn also noted that the gymnasts had supportive coaches and said the girls never accepted less than their best effort.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10940