Osbourn Park gymnasts take Cedar Run
MANASSAS — Dinner is on The Judge.
That was the deal if the Osbourn Park gymnastics team scored at least 143 points and won the Cedar Run District championship Saturday afternoon.
And since Rossie Alston is a man of his word, the Yellow Jackets are feasting Italian style.
“We’re going to Maggiano’s,” sophomore Beth Ploger said, her voice rising with excitement.
Break out the Gold card because the Yellow Jackets worked up quite an appetite during the three-hour competition at Stonewall Jackson High School. Especially Ploger, who recovered from a week-long illness to have the meet of her life.
She earned season-high scores on three events, broke 36 in the all-around for the first time in her career and was one of three Osbourn Park gymnasts to win an individual district title as the Yellow Jackets edged the host Raiders, 144.975-143.575.
“During warmups I do a test and it never lies,” Ploger said. “I throw a back tuck off vault and if I stick it, I know we’re going to stick the whole meet.”
She’s the Yellow Jackets’ version of Punxsutawney Phil, only she can do a shootover and has absolutely no plans to hibernate until spring.
Not with an Italian dinner waiting and Osbourn Park all signed up for the Northwest Region meet next Saturday at Stafford.
Ploger’s 36.3 all-around performance was fourth overall but it best symbolized the Yellow Jackets’ success. Although they went undefeated in dual meets during the regular season, their highest score was a 139.9.
It took extraordinary efforts from five gymnasts to hold off the Raiders, who also turned in their best team score of the year.
Ploger won the balance beam title with a personal best score of 9.3, while sophomore Sally May captured the uneven bars crown with a 9.6 and wound up in third place overall with a score of 36.675.
Senior Kelly Stevison topped the field as all-around champion with a meet-record 37.4 and, not surprisingly, won the vault title as well. Senior Ashley Keller finished the day with 34.525 points and Devon Alston contributed 34.25 for the Yellow Jackets, who actually accumulated 145.475 points but had a half point deducted when a scoring challenge was denied.
Even with that deduction, Osbourn Park improved its team score by more than five points.
“It’s huge,” Stevison said. “The whole four years I’ve been on the team we’ve never scored that high.
“We knew it was going to be close because Stonewall is wonderful,” she added. “I’m really happy with how we did.”
Stevison’s euphoria was contagious. Her talent was, too.
After receiving the highest score of any area gymnast this season with a 9.85 on her Phelps vault, Stevison went on to score a 9.425 on the floor exercise, a 9.125 on the balance beam and a 9.0 on the uneven bars.
She was the only gymnast in the Cedar Run to score a 9.0 or higher on each event and that was just enough to claim the all-around championship. Stevison finished three-tenths of a point ahead of Stonewall’s sensational freshman, Erin Stack, who earned a career-high score of 37.1.
“I thought I did OK,” Stack said, after sharing the floor exercise championship with teammate Laura Hancock and scoring a 9.5 to take second on the uneven bars.
“I fell on beam. That wasn’t good, but I made up for it on bars and floor,” she said. “I never thought I could really tumble a full [twist] on a wrestling mat, but it’s not as bad as I thought it was.”
Pulling off a full twist helped Stack earn a 9.55 on the floor, the same score as Hancock, who valiantly competed with a foot injury.
“There’s a bone spur about the size of my pinkie tip and bone fragments floating around in there,” Hancock said, after she scored 35.975 to finish fifth in the all-around. “I was hoping this year would be without plain, but oh well.”
Hancock wraps her left foot in a walking cast when she’s not practicing or competing. She’s contemplating surgery, but that’s probably a year down the road. Right now, she just wants to make it to the Group AAA state meet.
“We’ve thought of a lot of scenarios to help cut down on the pain,” she said.
Willpower was the best remedy on Saturday. She toughed it out for the team and the Raiders responded to her effort.
In addition to Stack’s amazing performance, Stonewall sophomore Carol Reed placed in all four events to qualify for regionals as an all-arounder. Her 35.725 score placed her sixth overall Junior Ann Itnyre (34.525) tied Keller for seventh and freshman Isabelle Schumaker, who qualified for regionals on two events, had the best meet of her first varsity season with a score of 33.475.
“We all did well so that’s all that matters,” said Hancock.
CEDAR RUN DISTRICT
(at Stonewall Jackson High School)
1. Osbourn Park 144.975; 2. Stonewall Jackson 143.575.
1. Kelly Stevison, OP 37.4; 2. Erin Stack, SJ 37.1; 3. Sally May, OP 36.675; 4. Beth Ploger, OP 36.3. 5. Laura Hancock, SJ 35.975; 6. Carol Reed, SJ 35.725.
1. Kelly Stevison, OP 9.85; 2. Sally May, OP 9.5; 3. Laura Hancock, SJ 9.15; 4. Carol Reed, SJ 9.1; 5. Beth Ploger, OP 9.05; 6. Erin Stack, SJ 8.95; 7. Devon Alston, OP 8.9; 8. Ashley Keller, OP 8.65; 9. Ann Itnyre, SJ 8.55.
1. Sally May, OP 9.625; 2. Erin Stack, SJ 9.5; 3. Kelly Stevison, OP 9.0; 4. Beth Ploger, OP 8.975; 5. Laura Hancock, SJ 8.675; 6. Ann Itnyre, SJ 8.575; 7. Carol Reed, SJ 8.5; 8. Isabelle Schumaker, SJ 8.1; 9. Ashley Keller, OP 7.85.
1. Beth Ploger, OP 9.3; 2. Kelly Stevison, OP 9.125; 3. Erin Stack, SJ 9.1; 4. Ashley Keller, OP 9.0; 5. Devon Alston, OP 8.975; 6. Carol Reed, SJ 8.875; 7. Isabelle Schumaker, SJ 8.85; 8. Sally May, OP 8.65; 9. Ann Itnyre, SJ 8.625.
1. Erin Stack, SJ 9.55; 1. Laura Hancock, SJ 9.55; 3. Kelly Stevison, OP 9.425; 4. Carol Reed, SJ 9.25; 5. Ashley Keller, OP 9.025; 6. Beth Ploger, OP 8.975; 7. Sally May, OP 8.9; 8. Ann Itnyre, SJ 8.775; 8. Devon Alston, OP 8.775; 10. Isabelle Schumaker, SJ 8.425.
* NOTE: Stonewall’s Carol Reed qualified for all-around by placing among the top-8 in all four events; Stonewall’s Laura Hancock will take Sally May’s place in the all-around. May withdrew from regionals because of a club team commitment. Stonewall’s Ann Itnyre will replace May on vault and balance beam, OP’s Ashley Keller takes the eighth regional spot on uneven bars and Stonewall’s Isabelle Schumaker advances in May’s place on the floor exercise.