Prep Sports: Findlay High gymnasts open tonight

Findlay High School’s Vashti Larsen competes on the uneven bars during last year’s district gymnastics championships at Bowling Green State University. Larsen is the lone senior back for the Trojans this season. (Photo by Matthias Leguire)

Findlay High’s gymnastics team heads into the 2017-18 season a bit short on upperclass experience but long on history and tradition.
Vashti Larsen is the lone senior on the roster. Sophomores Kaitlin Hardwick, Sydnee Starr and Jessica Lagerquist and freshmen Allison Roynon and Marcie Tatum round out the squad.
“We’re a very young team this season,” said FHS coach Traci Dunn. “But excited to get started and get some experience.”
Despite Findlay’s youth, Dunn knows the goals never change. One of the dominant gymnastics programs in northwest Ohio, Findlay has won five straight Three Rivers Athletic Conference championships and sent a team to state five of the past seven seasons. The Trojans have advanced to state 16 times overall, finishing as state runner-up in 2003 and placing among the top five eight other times.
Hardwick is the most accomplished of the returning gymnasts and will be looking to fill the void left by Cassidy Pruitt, the Three Rivers Athletic Conference Gymnast of the Year in 2016 and second in the TRAC all-around standings last season. A four-time state qualifier, Pruitt earned all-Ohio honors in the vault last season and placed 22nd on uneven bars.
As a freshman, Hardwick finished fifth in the TRAC all-around standings (32.7). In the league championship meet, she placed fourth on bars, fifth on floor and seventh on beam.
While Findlay has won five straight TRAC gymnastics titles, the competition has been getting tight. Last season, the Trojans (129.8) edged Toledo Notre Dame (129.5) by three-tenths of a point and the Eagles return TRAC Gymnasts of the Year Maddie Humbles and two other first-team all-league gymnasts in Branigan Lyczkowski and Cheridyn Lyczkowski.
Starr is new to the Findlay lineup but brings experience to the squad as well. Competing as a one-girl team for Liberty-Benton year ago, Starr competed in a number of big meets, including the 18-team Worthington Kilbourne Invitational where she was 18th (28.325) in the all-around standings.
McComb’s Shelby Steinbrook also competed as a one-girl team for her school last season and was a state alternate in floor exercises after placing sixth in the district in that event. Steinbrook also competed in the Worthington Kilbourne Invitational where she was second on floor, fourth on beam and seventh all-around (33.65).
Findlay is scheduled to host Steinbrook in its season opener on Friday.
Besides Findlay, Patrick Henry is the only other area school with the numbers to field a full gymnastics team. Despite being one of the smallest schools in the one-division district tournament format, the Patriots have qualified for state four times, with a school-best sixth-place finish in 2002.
With no seniors on the roster, PH coach Darcy Krassow says the Patriots will be a young team this season. But she has high hopes for a strong junior class that includes returning letterwinners Emma Burkey, Jessica Mangas, Jenna Mangas, and Erin Diem. Rounding out the Patriots’ roster are sophomores Lauren Rohrs, Laila Rutter, Lizzy Latta and Breanna Gerken and freshmen Hailee Baird, Tia Elkington, Makayla Updike, Maggie Rohrs, and Mackenzie Dawson.
Patrick Henry was fifth in last year’s district team standings, one spot behind Findlay.



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