OLATHE — The Newton High School gymnastics team finished with its second-best score of the season, posting a 96.375 Saturday for a seventh-place finish at the KSHSAA State Championships at Olathe South High School.
“We had 96 one other time,” Newton coach JoAnne Thaw said. “That’s good. They all came through.”
Olathe East won the team title at 106.075, followed by Olathe Northwest at 103.075 and Lawrence Free State at 100.35.
Brooke Illum of Olathe Northwest won the all-around title at 36.65. She won the vault at 9.1 and floor exercises at 9.55. Defending all-around champion Talia Gay of Lawrence Free State competed in just two events because of injury, but won the uneven parallel bars at 9.025. Kelsey Meyer of Olathe East won the balance beam at 9.3.
Toria Thaw claimed two medals in the meet, taking fifth on the balance beam at 9.0 and sixth in all-around at 34.45.
“I had some less-than-fortunate things happen, but it felt good to be on the podium,” she said. I was happy to finish it off on beam.”
Toria Thaw is a junior.
“Hopefully, I’ll work in the off-season, come back next year and do better.”
“You know grandma is proud,” said JoAnne Thaw, also Toria’s grandmother. “I’m just happy. I wanted that for her. I knew she would be there in the end. The vault didn’t go like she wanted and she was really worried.”
Toria was visibly struggling on her landing during the warm-ups on the vault. Teammates would try to brace the landing pads. Then some of the pads were pulled back. She stumbled on both attempts, scoring an 8.575.
“At first, we thought the pad was too high and she was sinking in and falling,” JoAnne Thaw said. “Then we pulled some off, and she stepped out. She was having a hard time. She had injured her elbows and was having trouble shoving off. Her freshman year, she was seventh at state and her vault was awesome. We’ll work on that in the off-season.”
Becca Meyer scored a 31.2 in all-around, followed by Elisa Fernandez at 30.3 and Elise Jantz at 29.675.
Also competing for Newton were Janessa Sutton and Georgia Garcia, who had both competed as junior varsity entries for most of the season.
“Elise had her high on floor and on beam,” JoAnne Thaw said. “We had three no-fall beam routines. (Sutton and Janessa) did well. Poor Janessa was shaking like a leaf before she went on floor. I thought she was going to throw up on the floor. I told ‘you got it. Treat it like any other meet and just breathe.’ She almost forgot her routine. As a freshman with no previous gymnastics experience, she just started in June and went a long way.”
Newton opened the day with a 25.275 on the floor exercises, which put the Railers in third after each team finished its first event. Toria Thaw led the team with an 8.85, followed by Meyer at 8.425 and Elise Jantz at 8.0.
On the vault, Newton had a team score of 24.9. Meyer scored an 8.25 and Jantz scored an 8.075.
Newton’s team score on the uneven parallel bars was 21.85. Toria Thaw led the team at 8.025. Elisa Fernandez scored a 6.95.
Newton finished the meet with a 24.35 on the balance beam. Jantz, Fernandez and Toria Thaw all finished with no-fall routines.
“Toria scored a 9.3 at Emporia,” JoAnne Thaw said. “(Assistant coach) Carlye (Anderson) wasn’t there and said she hasn’t seen a nine routine, so she got a 9.0. She takes after her aunts Jahreé and Jeneé. They were very good on beam.”
Newton loses just one senior in Meyer.
“We’re going to miss her,” JoAnne Thaw said. “She’s been a good leader on the team. Everybody else is coming back and I hope to pick up another good freshman.”
Hesston’s Alejandra Medina scored an 8.275 on the floor exercises and a 7.125 on the bars, the only two events she qualified in.
“Now we need to get a couple more girls to help her out,” JoAnne Thaw said.
Olathe South HS
Team scores — Olathe East 106.075, Olathe Northwest 103.075, Lawrence Free State 100.35, Shawnee Mission South 99.8, Shawnee Mission East 99.425, Olathe North 98.2, Newton 96.375, Lawrence 93.6.
All-Around — 1. Brooke Illum ONW 36.65, 2. Kelsey Meyer OE 35.9, 3. Liz Wassinger OE 34.975, 4. Anna Vogel OE 34.924, 5. Paris Spotted-Tail 34.525, 6. Toria Thaw New. 34.45.
Vault — 1. B.Illum ONW 9.1, 2. Talia Gay LFS 8.925, 3. Makenzie Krug OE 8.825, 4. (tie) Madison Mower SMS 8,8, Jeanine Houghton (Shawnee Mission West) 8.8, 6. Wassinger OE 8.7.
Uneven parallel bars — 1. Gay LFS 9.025, 2. B.Illumn ONW 8.8, 3. Meyer OE 8.775, 4. Spotted-Tail Law. 8.575, 5. Makenzie Juneau (Olathe West) 8.55, 6. Vogel OE 8.35.
Balance beam — 1. Meyer OE 9.3, 2. B.Illum ONW 9.2, 3. Wasinger OE 9.1, 4. Vogel OE 9.05, 5. Thaw New. 9.0, 6. Chaney Finkeldei LFS 8.9.
Floor exercises — 1. B.Illum ONW 9.55, 2. Spotted-Tail Law. 9.3, 3. Meyer OE 9.25, 4. (tie) Abby Gorman SME 9.0, Phoebe Holmes SMS 9.0, Karelyn Karjala (Emporia) 9.0.
Other Newton scores
All-Around — Becca Meyer 31.2, Elisa Fernandez 30.3, Elise Jantz 29.675.
Vault — Thaw 8.575, Meyer 8.25, Jantz 8.075, Fernandez 7.875, Janessa Sutton 7.675.
Uneven parallel bars — Thaw 8.025, Fernandez 6.95, Meyer 6.875, Jantz 6.05.
Balance beam — Fernandez 7.7, Meyer 7.65, Jantz 7.55, Georgia Garcia 6.35.
Floor exercises — Thaw 8.85, Meyer 8.425, Jantz 8.0, Fernandez 7.8, Sutton 6.8.
Floor exercises — Alejandra Medina 8.275.
Uneven parallel bars — Medina 7.125.