Success in gymnastics often can be about peaking at the right time.
By that measure, Stow-Munroe Falls senior Maggie Battenhouse had to be smiling after the OHSAA state gymnastics meet Saturday.
Batternhouse closed out her high school gymnastics career with a season-best score in the individual all-around of 36.825. That score earned Battenhouse All-Ohio honors and a place on the state podium as she tied for sixth-place with Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ Kaitlyn Dembie.
Brunswick’s Jordan Thomas won the all-around title with a score of 38.325 when the individual competition at the state meet took place Saturday at Hilliard Bradley High School.
Stow coach Sarah Kasper said Battenhouse saved the best of her high school career for last.
"She definitely did her best performance all year there," Kasper said. "It really showed all the hard work she’s done this year. She attained her goal of making it on podium. She did it on the hardest event: the all-around. I’m pretty proud of her."
Battenhouse’s score added 0.8 points from her all-around score at districts and crushed her all-around score of 34.875 from the 2019 state tournament.
Kasper was beaming about her senior star — once her teammate as a freshman as Kasper only graduated from Stow in 2017.
"Since we were teammates, we both benefited from each other," Kasper said. "For me, I benefited from her senior leadership. She benefited from me knowing what you needed to do, having gone through it myself."
Ironically, the lone apparatus which Battenhouse qualified to compete on in the individual tournament turned out to be her lowest score of the day.
On the uneven parallel bars, Battenhouse finished with a score of 8.8, just 0.05 off her score at the district. She tied for 16th place with Camryn Vamer of Marion Pleasant.
"She had a couple of little wobbles at her routine," Kasper said. "She did help her all-around score."
Thomas won the title on the uneven bars with a score 9.575.
In the rest of the all-around, Battenhouse put her best score of 9.45 on the floor exercise and also had a solid performance on the vault with a score of 9.225, which improved from her score at districts.
Kasper noted Battenhouse was still kicking herself for a rough floor exercise routine at sectionals, which cost her the chance to compete at states. Battenhouse’s 9.45 at states would have been enough to earn All-Ohio honors had she been able to compete on the apparatus.
"In every meet, there’s going to be things that don’t go right," Kasper said.
The big improvement for Battenhouse, however, came on the balance beam. After suffering though a rough routine at districts, Battenhouse was able to stay on the beam and nail a season-best score of 9.35.
"We were just talking through it, with it being her last event in her high school career," Kasper said. "She took a deep breath and just gave her best performance. At the end of the day, if you give your best, there’s nothing else you can do."
While losing Battenhouse to graduation will be a big loss for Stow gymnastics, Kasper notes she is the lone senior in the program. Kasper also said she plans to be back next winter to stop the revolving door of coaches Stow has endured the last few seasons.
"I should be returning next season. I’m excited to have a foot in the door and not have a learning curve anymore," Kasper said.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_GHO