March 13, 2021
Valparaiso Rallies for Gymnastics State Title
A week after struggling in its regional meet, Valparaiso put everything together today and a freshman won the all-around competition during the IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals at Worthen Arena in Muncie.
The Vikings comfortably placed third in last week's ultra-competitive Portage Regional but rallied on the biggest strage to claim the top spot with 111.300 points landing the school's record-extending 13th state championship and first since 2017. Head coach Lorie Cook has mentored all 13 of those championship teams.
Homestead earned runner-up honors with 110.475 points and three-time defending state champion Chesterton placed third with 109.900 in the team standings.
Freshman Austyn Dykes of Franklin Central won the all-around competition with 38.500 accumulated points to become the first from her school to wear the crown. Dykes shared the floor exercise title with Homestead sophomore Gina Zirille with 9.650, and placed third in the balance beam (9.50), fourth in the umeven bars (9.625) and seventh in the vault (9.725). Columbus North junior Emily Moore was the runner-up in the all-around with 38.375, Chesterton senior Mia Pak ended third with 38.275 and defending champion Elizabeth Ruger, a Richmond junior, was fourth with 37.925.
Pak won her third consecutive crown in the uneven bars with 9.725, an honor she shared with Angola junior Ashtyn Evans. Pak became just the fourth to win three state championships in one event and the second in the bars joining Tracy Rinker of Wawasee who won her third in 1980.
Moore won the balance beam with 9.725 while Harrison junior Haiven Gipson repeated as the state champion in the vault with 9.875.
This year's meet was contested at the Ball State University facility amid limited spectators and marked one year since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world. Last year's state meet was the last contested state championship of the 2019-20 school year and took place without any spectators in attendance.
49th Annual IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals
March 13, 2021
Worthen Arena, Ball State University, Muncie, IN
|Final Team Scores
||Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger
All-Around: Austyn Dykes (9) Franklin Central 38.500
Vault: Haiven Gipson (10) Harrison (West Lafayette) 9.875
Uneven Bars: (Co-champs) Ashtyn Evans (11) Angola; Mia Pak (12) Chesterton 9.725
Balance Beam: Emily Moore (11) Columbus North 9.725
Floor Exercise: (Co-champs) Austyn Dykes (9) Franklin Central; Gina Zirille (10) Homestead 9.650
Sabrina Falk named Mildred Ball Mental Attitude Award Winner
Following the event, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Sabrina Falk of Valparaiso 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 has best demonstrated mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability in gymnastics.
The daughter of Mike and Becky Falk of Valparaiso, Indiana, Falk is undecided on her college choice but would like to pursue her studies in Physical Therapy.
The IHSAA Executive Committee, on behalf of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, presented $1,000 to Valparaiso High School's general scholarship fund in the name of Sabrina Falk.
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, Mildred 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.