The 39th Annual IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals
March 19, 2011
Worthen Arena, Ball State University, Muncie
Valparaiso Gymnasts Claim Record Fourth Consecutive State Championship
Steffanie Long and Morgan Algozine went 1-2 in two events and Long captured the All-Around competition to spur Valparaiso to a state record fourth consecutive team title during the 39th Annual Gymnastics State Finals at Worthen Arena in Muncie.
The top-ranked Vikings edged No. 2 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger, 112.725 to 112.025 to win its ninth overall championship in the sport. Each has come under the direction of coach Lorie Cook. Columbus North placed third (110.675), Chesterton was fourth (109.875) and Roncalli, the runner-up the last two seasons, was fifth (107.725). Valpo had shared the record of three straight crowns with Perry Meridian (1978-80) Connersville (1987-89) and Homestead (1983-85).
Long, a junior, won the vault (9.675) and the floor exercise (9.850) on her way to becoming the record 10th All-Around champion from Valparaiso. She finished fifth on the uneven bars (9.475) and ninth on the balance beam (9.325) to put up 38.325 in the overall competition. Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger’s Brittany Trahin placed second with 38.100 and Algozine was third with 37.950.
Algozine, a sophomore, bested the state finals field in the uneven bars with her score of 9.675. She finished second to Long in the vault (9.650) and the floor (9.725). The duo should form a solid nucleus for another Valparaiso run at the championship next season.
Huntington North junior Jessica Baker captured first place in the balance beam with a 9.625 to become her school’s first state winner since Shera Shaw won the event in 1998. LaPorte’s Abaigale Light finished as the runner-up at 9.450.
Ball State served as host of the event for the first time. The state finals had been contested at Perry Meridian High School each year since 1978.
Final Team Scores
Uneven Bars –
||Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger
||Fort Wayne Northrop
Morgan Algozine, 10, Valparaiso, 9.675.
Balance Beam –
Jessica Baker, 11, Huntington North, 9.625.
Floor Exercise –
Steffanie Long, 11, Valparaiso, 9.850.
Steffanie Long, 11, Valparaiso, 9.675.
Steffanie Long, 11, Valparaiso, 38.325.
Chesterton’s Samantha Wilburn Named Mental Attitude Award Winner
Following the event, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Samantha Wilburn of Chesterton High School as the recipient of the Mildred M. Ball Mental Attitude Award.
The award is presented annually to a senior participant in the state finals who is deemed to have best demonstrated mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability in gymnastics.
Wilburn will attend Purdue University on academic scholarship beginning next fall where she will study Nursing. She has earned her school’s Scholar Athlete Award all four years (3.5 GPA) and is an Academic All-State honoree.
She helped the Trojans advance to the state team competition for the sixth straight year, served as team captain and was named her team’s most valuable gymnast this season.
Besides gymnastics, Wilburn also ran cross country and track and field during her high school career and competed in the cross country state finals as a freshman.
The daughter of Greg and Kathy Wilburn of Chesterton, she is the third Trojan gymnast to win the state mental attitude award and first since Lauren West in 2003.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the corporate partner of all IHSAA state championship events, presented a $1,000 scholarship to Chesterton High School in the name of Wilburn.
The mental attitude award is named in honor of the former IHSAA assistant commissioner who served the Association from 1977 to 1997. During her career, Ball administered the state gymnastics tournament among other sports and also oversaw the licensing and training of all contest officials in the state of Indiana.