BROADVIEW HEIGHTS — There has been some changes in Suburban League gymnastics this winter and there were some surprises Friday at the league meet at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.
One thing remains the same: Brecksville is the team to beat by a wide margin.
The 16-time defending state champion Bees showed off their depth Friday, winning the team title with 146.95 points. Hudson earned a strong second place with 141.9, beating third-pace North Royalton by nearly a point (140.95).
Highland (135.75) and Stow-Munroe Falls (134.2) rounded out the top five.
Bees coach Maria Schneider — the daughter of legendary Brecksville coach Joan Ganim — said she was thrilled with her team’s performance.
"We’re right on target for where we want to be for the postseason," Schneider said. "They’re all stepping up, even when we have alternates who can’t go.
However, there was a bit of an upset for the individual all-around title. Highland freshman Paige Yu won with a score of 37.1 to take the all-around title, as she was named league MVP.
The difference was the floor exercise, which Yu won with a score of 9.4
Yu edged three Bees for the individual title, as Kaitlyn Dembie and Lindsay Kern tied for second place with 37.05, followed by Erin Delahunty with a score of 36.85.
Dembie won the title on the vault with a 9.6 — the highest individual score of the night, while Kern won the uneven bars with 9.55.
Rounding out the top five in the all-around was Stow senior Maggie Battenhouse, who finished with a score of 36.55. The All-Ohioan tied for first on the balance beam with a 9.4 and also was second on floor exercise with a 9.3.
"I’m very satisfied with what I did tonight," Battenhouse said. "I finally stayed on the beam. I’d fallen every time I’ve been on it this year."
"It’s a little nerve racking, because you know [Brecksville] is going to do well, but I think I did OK."
"She’s definitely ready to go for the postseason," said Stow coach Sarah Kasper of Battenhouse. "We did really well tonight. We’re just getting better and better every week."
Stow got one other top 10 finish on the night, as Emily Lilch finished eighth on vault with a 9.05.
Battenhouse shared the balance beam title with her friend, Hudson senior Julia Petty, Petty finished sixth in the all-around with a score of 36.35.
"It was good," Petty said. "We weren’t in the zone on the bars tonight."
Hudson coach Megan Mertz said the Explorers did a good job taking second place, despite not being at their best on their favorite apparatus.
"This was their best effort of the season on beam," Mertz said. "Tonight was the first time all year we struggled on one uneven bars, but they came back and got it right back on the beam.
Mertz noted the competition in the Suburban League was likely to be be stiffer than at sectionals.
"You’ve got to be able to hit to compete in their conference," Merz said. "I think they’ve finally gelling as a team this year."
The Explorers got a sixth place finish from Lindsay Havens on uneven bars with a 9.1, as well as a seventh-place finish on beam with a 9.15.
Hudson got two top 10 finish from Laurel Gormersal on floor exercise (ninth, 9.0) and balance beam (10th, 9:05), as well as a 10th place finish from Ava Guistino on vault (9.0).
Twinsburg’s night was highlighted by Bailey Johnson taking fifth place on the vault with a lifetime best score of of 9.15.
Twinsburg finished seventh in the team race with 124.9 points. While first-year Tigers coach Margaret Benedetti said she knew her team couldn’t compete with the top squads, she was very happy with Twinsburg’s improvement.
"We’ve definitely made the progress I’ve wanted to see," Benedetti said. "We’re building the program up slowly. We’re better than we were a couple of years ago."
Sarah LaFlame, head coach of both Cuyahoga Falls and Nordonia, said she was happy with her teams’ effort, especially with Nordonia missing two of its gymnasts.
Falls finished ninth in the team race with 121.3 points, while Nordonia was 10th with 93.65 points.
"I very proud," LaFlame said of the Black Tigers. "We had a rough patch at the beginning of the girls came through tonight. I was very proud of what we did on floor exercise."