Caddo Magnet gymnastics coach Julie Anderson said talking to the media makes her nervous, but Anderson had plenty to say after her girls team built a lead in Division III action, then held on the rest of the way to capture the LHSAA state championship at Baton Rouge High on Saturday.
Much of her praise was directed toward Caddo freshman Cara Armstrong, whose 36.450 score in Division I, Level 8 competition clinched the crown for the Mustangs.
“We have a new kid (Armstrong) who moved from Nevada and just happened to move into our district. She’s a level eight, and she did super well today, the best she could,” Anderson said.
Armstrong had a strong day, but Caddo was anything but a one-girl team.
“I’ve got 220 kids in my program, so I’m a busy bee,” Anderson said. “These girls are really close, they work with each other and don’t rely so much on me.”
Caddo scored 219 for first place, followed by St. Joseph’s Academy with 211.95 and East Ascension, 210.85.
Catholic of New Iberia (208.15) and Baton Rouge High (194.30) rounded out the scoring among schools which had the required number of scores in all three divisions to qualify for the championship.
Caddo squeezed by E.D. White 111.65 to 111.45 in Division III, Level 4 competition. E.D. White came back to win Division II, but the Cardinals had no entries in Division I and had no chance for overall team honors
Patrick Taylor School of Science and Technology brought a team of three sixth-graders and one seventh-grader, all Level 5 gymnasts, and managed a second place in Division II. Their seventh-grader, Jasmine McGowan, won first in the uneven bars and floor exercise on her way to the Division II all-around title, edging Julia Whitney of East Ascension 37.80 to 37.45. Whitney won the floor exercise and took second in the vault and balance beam.
Alex Hebert of Catholic-New Iberia won the vault in Division II.
“The competition was stiff,” McGowan said. “This was my first high schooI meet and I wasn’t going to do it, but my coach (Louann Dugas) convinced me to. I think I’m not the best gymnast, but I did my best.”
Bayley Fife of St. Michael the Archangel hit the highest score of the day, a 9.90 in floor exercise, and finished just ahead of Caroline Broussard of E.D. White, 37.75 -37.25 for the Division III all-around title.
Other Division III individual winners were Hailey Copeland of East Ascension on the vault, Lindsey Fitzgerald of Caddo on the bars, and Maggie Roos of Newman on the beam.
Four different girls won individual events in the most advanced Level 8. Sarah Brandt of Ursuline won the vault, Katie Hebert of Comeaux won the bars, Leah Courter of Episcopal was first on the balance beam and sophomore Raleigh Patrick won the floor exercise.
Patrick barely edged Brandt 37.55 to 37.50 for the all-around title.
“This (the all-around) means a lot because last year I really wanted to win, and I finished, like,
third (Her actual finish was fourth.) so I said this year I’m going to go out and win it. The difference this year was that I actually did a good vault.
“This meet I can actually have fun at. I can go out and not worry as much. At other meets I have to worry more about doing good.”
Caddo Magnet joins St. Paul’s of Covington as a 2014 state champion. The Wolves won the boys gymnastics title on the opening day of the meet Friday.