IHSAA Gymnastics

1996-97 State Finals in Review


Valparaiso captured the team title and senior Amanda Gwinnup of Lawrence North won the individual all-around title in the 25th Annual IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals March 22, 1997 at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis.

Gwinnup, competing in the state tournament series for the first time, finished first in the uneven bars, second in vaulting, third in the balance beam and tied for fourth in the floor exercise to wrap up the all-around honor with 37.625 points. Finishing second overall was Valparaiso freshman Ellison Tipton with 37.525 points. Tipton placed second in both the floor exercise and balance beam.

Valparaiso, boosted by Aimee Melody's one-two finish with Tipton in the floor exercise, outdistanced North Central of Indianapolis for its fourth state championship and second in four years with 111.225 points. The Vikings also won the crown in 1981, 1991 and 1994. All came under the guidance of coach Lorie Cook.

North Central accumulated 105.850 points, followed by Homestead with 105.600 and Columbus East with 104.925.

Other than Gwinnup's title in the uneven bars, the remaining individual titles all were claimed by freshmen. Heather Blevins of Blue River Valley won the vaulting competition with 9.600 points; Rachel Goldberg of North Central won the balance beam with 9.500 points; and Valparaiso's Melody won the floor exercise with 9.650 points.

Rachel Nay of Columbus East High School was selected by the IHSAA Executive Committee as the 1997 recipient of the Mental Attitude Award in Girls Gymnastics. A four-year state finalist in gymnastics, Nay was expected to compete for all-around honors but was able to compete only in the balance beam after injuring an ankle during the competition. Farm Bureau Insurance, the corporate partner of all IHSAA tournaments, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Columbus East High School in Nay's name.

A total of 88 teams and 488 athletes began competition at the sectional level.

The 25th Annual IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals

March 22, 1997

Perry Meridian High School, Indianapolis, Indiana

1.Valparaiso 111.225
2.North Central (Indpls.) 105.850
3.Homestead 105.600
4.Columbus East 104.925


All-Around -- 1. Amanda Gwinnup, Lawrence North, 37.625; 2. Ellison Tipton, Valparaiso, 37.525; 3. Heather Blevins, Blue River Valley, 37.050; 4. Tiffany Stewart, Portage, 36.875; 5. Kristen Hines, Homestead, 36.300; 6. Julie Houston, Columbus East, 36.225; 7. Lisa Walters, Chesterton, 35.975; 8. Rachel Goldberg, North Central (Indpls.), 35.800; 9. Angel Pierce, Tri-Central, 35.800; 10. Samantha Duff, Homestead, 35.775.

Uneven Bars -- 1. Amanda Gwinnup, Lawrence North, 9.475; 2. Tiffany Stewart, Portage, 9.450; 3. Mayumi Urgino, Valparaiso, 9.325; 4. Angel Pierce, Tri-Central, 9.300; 5. Jenny Shikany, Valparaiso, 9.200; 6. Julie Houston, Columbus East, 9.175; 7. Ellison Tipton, Valparaiso, 9.100; 8. Samantha Duff, Homestead, 9.025; 9. Kristen Hines, Homestead, 8.925; 10. Heather Blevins, Blue River Valley, 8.900.

Vault -- 1. Heather Blevins, Blue River Valley, 9.600; 2. Amanda Gwinnup, Lawrence North, 9.550; 3. Lisa Fastero, Merrillville, and Jenny Shikany, Valparaiso, 9.500; 5. Gretchen Pikula, Valparaiso, 9.450; 6. Ellison Tipton, Valparaiso, 9.400; 7. Samantha Duff, Homestead, and Angela Schipper, Fort Wayne Dwenger, 9.350; 9. Aimee McQueen, Martinsville, and Courtney Vojtasek, Logansport, 9.250.

Floor Exercise -- 1. Aimee Melody, Valparaiso, 9.650; 2. Ellison Tipton, Valparaiso, and Angela Schipper, Fort Wayne Dwenger, 9.600; 4. Amanda Gwinnup, Lawrence North, Kristen Hines, Homestead, Heather Blevins, Blue River Valley and Tiffany Stewart, Portage, 9.575; 8. Gretchen Pikula, Valparaiso, 9.500; 9. Heidi Pulver, Fort Wayne North Side, 9.475; 10. Julie Houston, Columbus East, 9.450.

Balance Beam -- 1. Rachel Goldberg, North Central (Indpls.), 9.500; 2. Ellison Tipton, Valparaiso, 9.425; 3. Amanda Gwinnup, Lawrence North, 9.025; 4. Heather Blevins, Blue River Valley, 8.975; 5. Erin Jennings, Richmond, 8.950; 6. Amy Leland, North Central (Indpls.), 8.900; 7. Kristen Hines, Homestead, 8.850; 8. Erin Hibbert, Lafayette Jefferson, 8.725; 9. Tiffany Stewart, Portage, 8.700; 10. Courtney Vojtasek, Logansport, 8.700.