Heading into the third and final division of Saturday’s Louisiana High School Athletic Association Girls State Gymnastics Meet, St. Joseph’s trailed Caddo Magnet by two tenths of a point.
That made it all the more exciting when the Redstickers heard their name called as state champions at the end of the day, edging the Mustangs by less than two points in the overall standings.
“We stayed focused and did what we had to do,” said Redstickers coach Natalie Pitts. “My goal was to win. That’s what we did. We put in the work, we put in the effort, we put in the practices. I was so elated, overwhelmed and just so excited and happy for these girls.”
St. Joseph’s finished with a total of 222.125 points and Caddo scored 220.775 to clinch second place. Catholic High-New Iberia (212.975) and host school Baton Rouge High (210.900) rounded out the top four in the 27-school competition.
“It panned out about how I thought it would,” said BRHS coach Kevin Nee. “I was not surprised. I thought if we got third it would be good for us, and we were two points down from that. We gave it our shot, and that’s what it was. I’m happy with fourth. They did a good job.”
Lafayette High’s Sydney Ewing swept all four events to win the individual all-around title in Level 8 for the second year in a row, scoring a 38.70. Katie Hebert of Comeaux finished second with a 37.400 and Vermilion Catholic’s Bailey Broussard placed third with a 37.300.
Dutchtown had the highest Level 8 score, posting a 104.250, followed by St. Joseph’s (86.10) and Ursuline (73.500).
In Level 5, E.D. White’s Kaitlyn Adams took the balance beam title en route to winning the all-around championship. St. Amant’s Camille LeBlanc won the bars and floor title and placed second in the all-around (37.625), followed by Catholic-New Iberia’s Chloe Colwart (37.475), who helped her school win Level 5 with a team score of 112.175.
E.D. White (110.550) finished second and Caddo (109.375) placed third.
In Level 4, the lowest of the three divisions, Caddo’s Ridley Walker took the all-around title with a score of 37.900. St. Joseph’s Sara Murphy won beam and finished second in the all-around (37.625), with E.D. White’s Lexie Bourgeois taking the vault title and third place (37.550.)
The Redtickers also finished second in the Level 4 team results, just .275 points behind E.D. White.
“The girls at St. Joseph are one,” said Pitts, who named the floor and beam as key events for her team. “When I say one, I mean one as a team. They are awesome girls. They know how to work. They have a good work ethic. They stick together and motivate each other. This is just overwhelming. I’m so honored to have the opportunity to teach these girls.”
This year also marked the return of the meet back to Baton Rouge High but this time in the school’s new gymnastics facility. The meet was held at Lee High the past two years while BRHS did renovations on the gym.
Baton Rouge High hosted five meets in 2013, including the state championship, and Nee said the facility passed with flying colors.
“I’ve died and gone to heaven as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “The gymnastics gym is just incredible. It’s an awesome, awesome facility and I just love it. I kind of got the feedback from other coaches, and they were happy with it.
“In Louisiana, to have a facility just for gymnastics at a high school is basically unheard of. I got positive reactions from all the coaches all day long.
“It’s great. It’s a good day for Louisiana gymnastics in high school.”