By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TIPP CITY — After going 16 years without competing at the state meet as a full team, the Troy gymnastics team qualified two out of the past four years in both 2016 and 2018.
Now, though, the Trojans find themselves in something of a transitional period — but the cupboard isn’t bare by any stretch.
Senior Sarah Kraynek, who is the Trojans’ only returning state qualifier from last season, placed fifth in the all-around competition at Monday’s Northmont Invitational — held at Gem City Gymnastics in Tipp City, one of only two home meet for the Trojans — helping to lead Troy to a sixth-place finish as a team on the day with a team score of 129.750.
But with the graduation of Lizzie Deal, who placed fifth in the all-around competition to lead Troy to a ninth-place team finish at the state meet two years ago and was one of two individual Trojan qualifiers last season, the majority of that state experience is now gone.
“We’ve got some work to do, but we went up three points from the last meet,” Troy coach Larry McCoppin said. “The good thing this year is that we have really nice depth. The bad thing is we counted on Lizzie for pretty much everything last year. This year, we’re counting on different kids for each thing — which is good and bad. So I’m hoping that these kids start looking at the scores, seeing what they need and stepping up.”
And McCoppin hopes his veterans will help lead the way.
“We have four seniors — Kraynek, Leah Winters, Neveah Collier and Ellie Daniel — this year, so if we get them to be the leaders I think they’re going to be, then we’re going to get the scores,” he said. “We’re only two- or three-tenths off in each event from getting into those top spots.”
Monday, Kraynek was that leader.
Kraynek placed for Troy in the all-around competition, finishing fifth with 34.3. She placed third on the vault (9.1), was tied for fifth on the beam (8.6) and scored 8.8 on the floor and 7.8 on the bars. Last season, Kraynek was an individual state qualifier in the vault, while Deal qualified in the beam.
“Sarah stepped it up,” McCoppin said. “And I already talked to her, too, because she lost six-tenths on goofy things she doesn’t usually do. That would have put her in the top four.”
Troy’s other individual placer on the day was Octavia Rambert, who was tied for 11th on the floor (9.0).
Also for the Trojans on the floor, Ally Wolfe scored 8.6, Leah Winters scored 8.55, Lauren Walker scored 8.3 and Jasmine Romick scored 7.45. On the beam, Winters scored 7.8, Wolfe scored 7.7, Nevaeh Collier scored 7.3, Rambert scored 7.15 and Kenzie Rougier scored 6.4. On the vault, Rambert scored 7.9, Romick and Winters scored 7.8, Walker scored 7.6, Rougier and Jessica Hann scored 7.3 and Olivia Mills scored 7.0. And on the bars, Wolfe scored 7.8, Walker scored 7.7, Ellie Daniel scored 7.5, Winters scored 7.35, Rambert scored 7.3, Collier scored 7.1, Rougier scored 7.0 and Romick scored 6.2.
“I think we’re going to get there, but I think these kids are kind of used to looking at Lizzie and the other veterans and going ‘you guys do it. You guys do it.’ And now it’s them,” McCoppin said. “But they’re doing really well. A couple of our seniors are working through injuries and can only do a couple of events, and that’ll likely be an all-year thing. So that kind of hurts our depth a bit. But our freshmen are really stepping it up. We have several freshmen that are right there with the third and fourth scores, and that will help the team overall. When they start realizing what they have to do for high school compared to club, they’ll get it together.”
Miamisburg’s Molly Witzerman won the all-around competition with 36.350, with teammates Keala McCurry finishing second with 35.700. Miamisburg also won the meet in the team standings with 135.850, with Lakota West finishing second with 134.650.
Troy will next compete at Centerville on Saturday.
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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Troy’s Leah Winters competes on the floor during the Northmont Invitational Monday at Gem City Gymnastics.