The LHSAA girls gymnastics meet at Baton Rouge High went down to the wire in the team and individual scoring Saturday before the Caddo Magnet Mustangs and Raleigh Patrick of Episcopal claimed hard-fought victories.
Longtime BRHS coach and meet director Kevin Nee said he couldn’t remember a closer final score.
“A fall is worth five-tenths, so it could be the difference of one fall,” he said. “It was top-notch competition — a great meet.”
Caddo got a 9.15 from Cara Armstrong on her final event, the uneven bars, to edge St. Joseph’s Academy by .40 of a point, 220.20-219.80, for the team title. E.D. White was a close third at 218.10.
“I knew it would be close from the very beginning, and I just wanted to do my best,” Armstrong said. “I was really nervous (going into the last event) because bars isn’t my greatest event, but it was a lot of fun.”
Patrick went into her final event, the vault, needing a 9.2 to win the title, and she came through with a 9.55 to win that event and squeeze past Madison Averett of French Settlement, 37.75 to 37.30. Rebecca D’Antonio of Dominican and Armstrong finished at 37.15.
It was a repeat all-around title for Patrick, a junior at Episcopal, and this one was tougher than the first.
“Last year there weren’t as many girls, and this time I felt like there was real competition,” she said. “My goal was to win again today and keep (the streak) going. I saw how everyone else was doing and knew I had to push it with my all in the vault.
“I plan to work hard this summer so I can come back here next year and try to win again.”
Going into the final rotation, Patrick was less than half a point ahead of Armstrong, Averett and Lucia Coco of Ursuline.
Averett won the floor exercise with a 9.65, and D’Antonio was a double winner in the bars and the beam, but a 12th-place finish in the vault ruined her shot at the all-around title.
The battle for the all-around title in Division II was a tight one, with eighth-grader Jasmine McGowan of Patrick Taylor edging Camille LeBlanc of St. Amant 38.30 to 38.10 for her second straight all-around championship.
McGowan’s only event win was in the floor exercise. Her high score of the day was a personal best 9.75 on the bars, which was good for second behind an outstanding 9.80 by Claire Daigrepont of St. Joseph’s. Other event winners in Division II were Kaitlyn Adams of E.D. White (vault) and Katherine Hodges of East Ascension (beam). Adele Borne of St. Joseph’s had two second- place finishes, in the vault and in the floor exercise.
All of the top-20 finishers in Division II finished with scores of 36.10 or higher.
Hailey Copeland of East Ascension won the uneven bars and had top-three finishes in the other events to claim the Division III All-Around title with a 37.85 score. Other event winners in that division were Candace Guilbeau of Catholic-New Iberia, who had the highest score of the day with a 9.85 on the vault; Jana St. Germain of Dutchtown (9.30 on the beam); and Marley Aamodt of Newman (9.70 in floor exercise).
Guilbeau finished second and St. Germain third in Division III all-around.
Caddo coach Julie Anderson has now notched a state championship with her boys and girls teams.
“The girls meet was definitely harder,” she said. “The numbers were there. The competition was stiff. The girls knew they had to hit it, and they did.”