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Wolverines’ Connally shines at invitational

It was the performance North Stafford gymnastics coach Annie Barr knew Michaela Connally was capable of—a sharp 9.7 on floor that led to a tie for the all-around title Saturday at Battlefield High School’s Bobcat Invitational.

“She just did a great job,” Barr said. “Her floor was amazing. All of her jumps were really high and she went hard on her last pass, which she normally has a difficult time with.”

Connally placed on all four events, tying for third on vault, placing fifth on bars and third on beam. Her total score (36.525) earned a first-place all-around tie with Battlefield’s Alex Fairbanks.

Stafford’s Ashley Hinton was third, and Colonial Forge’s Ashley Elston fourth. Elston won the vault (9.6) and Hinton the bars (9.2).

Battlefield won the Silver Division of the 13-team event, finishing a tenth of a point ahead of runner-up Stafford (104.925 to 104.825). North Stafford was third (102.275).

Connally’s lowest score was on beam, a 8.975 that was good for third place.

“She normally does really well,” said Barr, who added Connally has a new dismount and cleaned up her routine this year. “She fell on Saturday and still placed. She just needs to stick it.”

The highlight for the North Stafford senior was the floor exercise. Connally told Barr she really liked the feel of Battlefield’s floor mat, and the coach thought that comfort level helped.

“I am really excited she was able to put it all together,” Barr said. “I told her dad that floor routine would be great footage for a college recruitment video.”

is “football” in the wrong place?

Connally plans to attend the Naval Academy next year, which does not have a gymnastics program.

Colonial Forge hosts Orange, North Stafford and Stafford tomorrow in this week’s Commonwealth District quad.

—Justin Rice