By DAVE HANNEMAN
Findlay High gymnasts Jessica Lagerquist and Kaitlin Hardwick combined for 66.750 total points and finished 1-2 in the all-around standings of the 2018-19 Three Rivers Athletic Conference championships.
But with Lagerquist and Hardwick the only two members of the team, the Trojans, who won five straight league titles from 2013-17, finished fifth among the five TRAC schools that field gymnastics teams.
Team numbers are up this season, however, and FHS coach Traci Dunn is counting on the leadership of her two senior veterans and the Trojans’ new-found depth to produce the kind of point totals that might boost Findlay back into TRAC title contention.
“We’re building around those two (Lagerquist and Hardwick) and hoping their senior years we will be much more productive as a team,” Dunn said.
“With four scores counting for the team and having five (gymnasts) out this year, that’s a major factor.”
Lagerquist and Hardwick may have been Findlay’s only two gymnasts a year ago, but they proved to be the top two gymnasts in the TRAC.
Lagerquist won every event at the league meet, dominated the all-around standings, and was named the TRAC Gymnast of the Year.
Lagerquist followed her TRAC all-around championship by qualifying for the state meet as well where she placed 15th on bars (8.900), 26th on beam (8.700), 35th on vault (8,575) and 31st in the all-around standings (34.800).
Lagerquist’s toughest competition in the TRAC meet was Hardwick, who was third on the uneven bars and floor exercises, fourth on the balance beam and second in the all-around standings.
Both are back for their senior seasons, and will be joined in the rotation by sophomore Heidi Bailey and freshmen Makayla May and Jasmine McAdams. All three underclassmen will be new to high school competition, but are not new to the sport.
“As far as high school competition, that’s something new for them,” Dunn said.
“But they have some experience. Makayla came up through our program and Heidi and Jasmine have been with us two years or so.”
While Lagerquist and Hardwick have seen solid success so far, Dunn can see both gymnasts fine-tuning their games.
“We’re working on what we call up-skills, especially with those two on the bars and vault,” Dunn said.
“I think you win meets between bars and vault. Those two events can definitely separate teams.”
Dunn sees a definite benefit to having two gymnasts the caliber of Lagerquist and Hardwick.
“They’re a nice nucleus, that’s how we put it,” Dunn said.
“They’re both very good and they get along really well, but they also push each other, and that makes both of them better.
“They’re always going to be competitive with each other, and by doing that, that makes us more competitive as a team.”
Findlay will open its season on Friday with a four-school meet at Patrick Henry. The Trojans’ lone home meet will be the annual Beauty & The Beast gymnastics/wrestling event on Jan. 31.