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Commonwealth Gymnastics Meet: Elston repeats as district champion
BY JUSTIN RICE
It was fitting that Colonial Forge’s Ashley Elston was the final competitor at yesterday’s Commonwealth District gymnastics championship.
There she stood, the only performer remaining, with the spotlight on her, taking a victory lap for the district finish any senior would hope for—as a champion.
Elston’s 9.7 on floor propelled her to a second straight all-around district title Saturday at Brooke Point High School.
Stafford won its 18th district team title and its fifth in the last six seasons. North Stafford was second, the first time the Wolverines have finished in the district’s top two since 2002.
Both the Indians and Wolverines advanced as teams to next Saturday’s Northwest Region meet, hosted by Stafford. The top four all-arounders and the top eight individuals in each event also advance.
“Last year we were second all the way through and then didn’t have a good district meet,” said North Stafford senior Michaela Connally. “We just had to keep it consistent. It’s really exciting to get everyone through. Today was all about the team.”
Connally has seen North Stafford’s team grow from her sophomore season, when the Wolverines didn’t have enough gymnasts to be a factor in team competitions, to this season’s region bid.
The Wolverines led yesterday’s meet through the early rotations, until Stafford’s depth allowed the Indians to pull away.
“I’m beyond excited,” North Stafford coach Annie Barr said. “I went into today hoping for second. I just wanted to go to regionals. It’s not something we’ve done in a long time.”
Elston has grown and improved over the last three seasons, too.
She was second in the district all-around as a freshman, and fourth as a sophomore. But in both seasons, she did not place on floor.
Already a powerful vaulter and strong on bars, she needed only to improve her floor score. Elston will now graduate as the district’s two-time floor champion, to go with her pair of all-around titles.
“It’s come a long way, since freshman year,” she said. “The judges really killed me there in my first two years, but now it’s paying off.
“Floor is the last event that I thought would win it. It’s never been my event, but I’ve been training on it.”
Stafford’s Ashley Hinton won the beam with a solid 9.625 and was third in the all-around. She led the Indians to the team title by what turned out to be a semi-comfortable three-point margin.
But early on, it didn’t look as if that would be the case.
Stafford started the day on beam, and Hinton’s big score was the only one above a 9.0. The Indians knew they were behind.
“We knew after beam we really had to step it up, and we did,” Hinton said. “The beam ate us up. It’s one of those events you never want to go to, for me at least.
“We were just able to push through and get back to the top.”
Team scores: 1. Stafford 144.25; 2. North Stafford 141.525; 3. Colonial Forge 139.025; 4. Brooke Point 133.925; 5. Mountain View 127.1; 6. Orange 119.4.
Bars: 1. Anika Woodard (NS) 9.7; 2. Ashley Elston (CF) 9.425; 3. Ashley Hinton (St) 9.4; 4. Siobhan Bernard (NS) 9.075; 5. Dylana Wilhelm (BP) 9.0; 6. Michaela Connally (NS) 8.95; 7. Ariel Ellixson (MV) 8.9; 8. Brynne Reeves (St) 8.85.
Beam: 1. Hinton (St) 9.625; 2. Wilhelm (BP) 9.475; 3. Elston (CF) 9.15; 4. Kayla Lyall (BP) 8.975; 5. Reeves (St) 8.9; 6. Emily George (St) 8.75; 7. Haley Cooper (CF) 8.675; 8. Katy Garrity (MV) 8.625.
Floor: 1. Elston (CF) 9.7; 2. Hinton (St) 9.575; 3. Sammy Krejdovsky (St) 9.475; t–4. Bernard (NS) 9.4; t–4. Connally (NS) 9.4; 6. Wilhelm (BP) 9.25; 7. Reeves (St) 9.225; 8. Woodard (NS) 9.05.
Vault: 1. Wilhelm (BP) 9.55; 2. Elston (CF) 9.525; 3. Woodard (NS) 9.225; 4. Connally (NS) 9.2; 5. Bernard (NS) 9.1; 6. Krejdovsky (St) 9.05; t–7. Adriona Payne (St) 9.0; t–7. Jessie Lupi (CF) 9.0.
All-around: 1. Elston (CF) 37.8; 2. Hinton (St) 37.5; 3. Wilhelm (BP) 37.275; 4. Woodard (NS) 36.225.
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045