SPT-PT031414 - lhs gymnasts sectional.jpg

SECTIONAL CHAMPS: Logansport's gymnastics team, pictured after winning a sectional championship last weekend, competes at the Valparaiso Regional tonight.

Logansport’s gymnastics team will be competing at the most power-packed regional in the state tonight.

The Valparaiso Regional will feature four of the top five ranked teams in the state, including the Berries, and only three teams will advance to the state finals.

Action gets underway at 7 p.m. EST tonight at Valparaiso High School.

“We know we’re competing against the best teams in the state so we’re just trying to practice hard and just keep calm and focused,” Logan sophomore Emily Pomasl said. “We just want to keep focused on what we’re doing and not everyone else and just focus on our team.”

The Berries recorded their first-ever regional title in gymnastics last year at Lafayette Jeff.

But the IHSAA changed the tournament format for this season. There are now less regionals throughout the state — there are just three this year — but three teams now get to advance out of each regional instead of two in the past.

The Berries went on to finish sixth out of eight teams at the state finals a year ago.

The Berries seemingly drew the short end of the stick by being sent up to the Region, which has long been a premiere gymnastics area in the state. But they said they are ready for the challenge.

“I feel pretty confident going into the regional,” said sophomore Kelley Platt, who was a regional all-around champion a year ago before finishing fourth in the all-around at state. “I’m confident about me and also my team. We just have to go out there and just focus on us and not who all is around us. If we do that I think we’ll be happy with our results.”

Logansport enters ranked No. 5 in the state. Valparaiso, a nine-time state champion, is ranked No. 1. Defending state champion Portage is ranked No. 3. Merrillville is ranked No. 4.

The state’s No. 6 and No. 8 ranked teams, Michigan City and Chesterton, did not survive last week’s Chesterton Sectional.

The Berries’ high score this year of 110.9 has only been bested by Valparaiso (112.425) and Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (111.95).

“It’s going to be tough but I think that our routines are strong and our girls are strong and they know what they have to do to get the scores,” Logan coach Dannan Mordenti said. “We’ve never been up north so we don’t know how scores work up there, so it’s just going to kind of be a learning experience for us.”

The Berries enter an experienced group after last year’s tournament showing and a few of them have a lot of club gymnastics experience as well.

“We’re all kind of used to it,” Pomasl said. “Since there’s four out of the top five there, one of us is going to be out, so we’re just going to try to stick our routines in cleanly and hopefully the scores fall into place.

“We’re just trying to get everything together and have a good meet just so we can get to state.”

Platt was the sectional all-around champion with a 37.875 last week and won all four events. Her high all-around score of 38.25 this season ties Portage senior Danielle Solis for the top mark in the state this season.

Pomasl, who has the seventh highest all-around score in the state at 37.7 this season, placed second in the all-around at last week’s sectional and she was also second in the all-around at last year’s regional.

Also competing tonight for the Berries will be junior Maddy Rosenberger on vault, junior Ashlyn Brown on beam, sophomore Hannah Brandt on vault and bars, sophomore Elizabeth Nies on floor and freshman Alexa Abbott on bars, beam and floor.

“We have a strong four girls on each event,” Mordenti said. “They’ve been working their tails off this week just making sure they perfect everything from a pointed toe to a bent arm.”

The Berries recorded a 106.5 to repeat as sectional champions last weekend, topping runner-up Noblesville by more than three points. Harrison finished a distant third and also advanced.

Individually, the top six place winners in each event and in the all-around competition also advance to the state finals. Plus, all gymnasts who receive the score of the sixth place gymnast at the previous state finals meet advance to the state finals, which is as follows: bars – 9.4; beam – 9.225; vault – 9.7; floor – 9.425 and all-around – 37.15.

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