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Grisafi wins State All-Around, lifts Valparaiso Gymnastics back to the top

Lewis Bagley, Special to
Posted: March 11, 2023
2022-23 Valparaiso Gymnastics
Photo Credit: Double Edge Media @demllc

The queens of IHSAA gymnastics are back on their perch.

Led by its strong senior class, including all-around champion Gabriella Grisafi, Valparaiso took home its state-record 14th team championship at Worthen Arena on the Ball State University campus.

Top-ranked Valparaiso finished with a 112.350 to edge runner-up Homestead’s 111.625 to claim the title. Second-ranked and defending-champion Crown Point finished third with 109.500.

The Vikings won their first state title back in 1981 and had a run of six state championships between 2008 and 2015. This championship is the first under coach Rebecca Juergens -- a long-time assistant coach to the retired Lorie Cook, who guided the program to 13 titles, including the program’s most previous in 2021.

2022-23 Gymnastics Photo
Photo courtesy Double Edge Media @demllc


“I’m glad we can bring (the championship) back to Valparaiso High School,” Juergens said. “These girls deserve it. They have performed well all year and have worked very hard to be able to do what they did today.”

Foremost among the performers was Grisafi, who tied for fourth in the all-around a year ago, but cracked the 38-point level (38.025) to top the Homestead duo of Gianna Zirille (37.800) and freshman Jillian Creager (37.775).

“Gabby is a perfectionist,” Juergens said, “and to be a gymnast at that top level, you have to have that personality and be willing to work so hard. Being a perfectionist is what’s helped her along all season.”

“We won (the state title) my sophomore year and we wanted to leave here with no regrets,” said Grisafi, who will attend the University of Kentucky, but will not perform.

“My biggest goal was to win as a team. This is it for me and, honestly, it’s the best way to go out.”

Grisafi led a strong Valpo effort on the balance beam, winning with a 9.625 score, while also finishing in a tie for second on the vault (also at 9.625) and third on the uneven bars (9.450).

Fellow seniors Molly Dreher (third place) and Mia Curran (fifth) also medaled on the beam.

“We solidified everything on the beam,” Grisafi said. “I’ve worked hard on the beam and that was a big goal of mine.”

Dreher also medaled on both the bars and floor exercise (sixth in both) to give her a sixth-place medal in the all-around (37.100).

“The senior class was ready to lead from the beginning of the year,” Juergens said, “and I knew they would put in the work they would need to for us to be successful. The day-to-day grind in this sport is not easy, but this team built up its confidence every day and it worked for us.”

2022-23 Gymnastics Photo
Photo courtesy Double Edge Media @demllc


For third-ranked Homestead, it’s now a third-straight year the Spartans have finished as runner-up. The program has won six state titles, but the last came in 2001.

Zirille, a senior, won both the bars (9.7) and floor exercise (9.55) to earn her runner-up finish in the all-around. Creager took the vault with a 9.725 score.

Rounding out the top six teams were Columbus North (106.850), Lake Central (106.325) and Fort Wayne Dwenger (106.150).

Sophomore Reese Euler led Columbus North with a fourth-place finish in the all-around (37.5), while Crown Point’s Elly Kiran took fifth (37.45).

51st Annual IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals 
March 11, 2023
Worthen Arena, Ball State University, Muncie, IN

Final Results

Final Team Scores
1. Valparaiso 112.350
2. Homestead 111.625
3. Crown Point 109.500
4. Columbus North 106.850
5. Lake Central 106.325
6. Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 106.150
7. Bloomington North 104.825
8. Carroll (Fort Wayne) 102.700
9. New Palestine 100.600


State Champions 
All-Around: Gabriella Grisafi (12) Valparaiso 38.025
Vault: Jillian Creager (9) Homestead 9.725
Uneven Bars: Gianna Zirille (12) Homestead 9.700
Balance Beam: Gabriella Grisafi (12) Valparaiso 9.625
Floor Exercise: Gianna Zirille (12) Homestead 9.550


Crown Point's Charlotte Annes named Mildred Ball Mental Attitude Award Winner
Following the event, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Charlotte Annes of Crown Point 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.

Charlotte competed on the balance beam (finished fifth last year) and uneven bars for the Bulldogs who were making their second consecutive appearance at the State Finals after winning it all a year ago. She is also a track and field athlete for the Bulldogs.

Charlotte has earned a 4.42 weighted GPA thus far and is Vice President of Crown Point’s Code Red Club and Student Director of the CPHS National Honor Society. In addition, she is a Student Leader for TeleHealth Access for seniors and has led a team of volunteers that run donation drives for medical devices, training workshops for those devices, and raise money for grants.   

She is the daughter of Jason and Izabela Annes of Crown Point, Indiana. She is undecided on where she’ll attend college but plans to study neuroscience.

The IHSAA Executive Committee, on behalf of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, presented $1,000 to Crown Point High School's general scholarship fund in the name of Charlotte Annes.

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 oversaw the licensing and training of all contest officials in the state of Indiana.