Stow-Murnoe Falls gymnastics coach Sara Kasper noted the pressure was on her star gymnast Feb. 22 at the district meet at West Geauga.
Bulldogs senior Maggie Battenhouse was flying solo at districts, knowing it could be her final high school meet.
However, Batterhouse powered through a loaded field at West Geauga to earn her third straight trip to the state tournament.
Battenhouse earned all-district honors in the all-around competition by finishing ninth with a score of 36.025. Brunswick’s Jordyn Thomas won the individual all-around with a score of 38.25.
Battenhouse also qualified for the state meet on the uneven bars, tying for 15th place with Chardon’s Chloe Budd. The top 17 placers on each apparatus at districts advanced to the state meet.
Brecksville-Broadview Heights won the team competition at districts with a score of 147.55.
"She really pulled through the pressure because this was her senior year," Kasper said. "She performed the best she could and made it to states for the third straight year. She’s perfectly healthy. She’s going to go into states strong."
Battenhouse heads back to the state meet after earning All-Ohio honors on floor exercise last year. She also finished 29th in the state all-around competition last year.
Interestingly, Battenhouse advanced to states on the apparatus where she had her second-lowest score at districts. Battenhouse finished with an 8.85 on uneven bars to advance. Brecksville’s Lindsay Kern won the uneven bars competition with a score of 9.5.
"She doesn’t really have any bad event," Kasper said. "She just did a great routine and made it to states."
Battenhouse had hoped to reach states on the vault, but the competition was loaded. She finished tied for 22nd on the vault despite a score of 9.125.
"She did a good vault and it really helped her all-around score," Kasper said. "She performed her best."
Kasper noted Battenhouse struggled on the balance beam a bit as a fall resulted in her finishing with an 8.55, tying her for 30th place.
On floor exercise, Battenhouse was in a bit of a unique position. Kasper noted "a weird fall" at sectionals cost Battenhouse a shot to compete on the individual floor exercise — the event she earned All-Ohio honors in the previous year.
However, Battenhouse responded by putting up a season-high score of 9.5 on the floor, even though the score only counted towards her all-around score. Had Battenhouse been allowed to compete on the apparatus, her score would have been second only to Brecksville’s Kaitlyn Dembie, who won the floor exercise with a 9.575.
The 48th annual individual state gymnastics tournament will begin Saturday at noon at Hilliard Bradley High School. The top 10 finishers in the all-around and each apparatus earn All-Ohio honors.
"I think she’s going to do really well," Kasper said. "She just needs to do the routines that she’s done all year and she will be fine."
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GHO