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OP, BHS gymnasts come up big at Aloha Classic

- op-bhs-gymnasts-come-up-big-at-aloha-classic

OP, BHS gymnasts come up big at Aloha Classic

In 2005, Stonewall Jackson won the gymnastics state championship.
Today, the team does not exist.
The demise of the Raiders' gymnastics team meant that Stonewall's annual Aloha Classic Invitational, which often features some of the best talent in the Northwest Region, faced a future uncertain too until Patriot adopted it and moved the competition to Nokesville.
At the Pioneers' home court on Saturday, two local schools put up big numbers at the final competition before the Cedar Run District championship on Feb. 1.
Osbourn Park, down four members due to injury, came away with a victory in the "silver division" while Battlefield earned second place in the more competitive "navy division," placing second to regional frontrunner Stafford.
It's the first time all season Battlefield did not win outright, following six consecutive victories.
Meanwhile, OP's Dee Knox placed fourth in the all-around with a score of 33.7, peaking with a 9.3 on the vault that placed her only behind all-around champion Siobhan Bernard of North Stafford in that event for silver division athletes.
She earned her points on vault with a Tsukahara pike, which involves a half-turn off the springboard, a push off the table and a backflip into a pike position, requiring her to bend just at her hips as she spins through the air.
"I've been doing this for years," said Knox. "It's gotten more consistent and a lot cleaner."
Knox's teammate Allison Arp came in sixth in the all-around (32.575 points), earning a high score of a 9.2 on vault.
Shelby Blanton and Vanessa Lee both competed in the all-around for Patriot, which came in third as a team with 93.625 points.
Lee checked in fifth overall (33.175) to Blanton's (32.225) seventh.
In the navy division, only Battlefield and Loudoun Valley did not offer up any all-around competitors from the eight schools vying against each other.
Instead, the Bobcats' head coach Mary Henry opted to send five members of her senior-heavy team into three events each: Jena Schroeder, June Mumo, Erika Harrington, Elena Patchan and Kassie Krivo.
Sophomore Victoria Krivo also competed on bars.
Kassie Krivo, one of the two senior captains, credited Battlefield's performance with a particularly strong outing on beam.
In that event, Battlefield's score of 27.050 put the Bobcats less than a point behind Stafford.
Schroeder earned the team's top marks of the day on beam with a 9.5, giving her the third-best showing overall in that event.
"We had three girls stick" their landings, said Krivo, singling out Schroeder, Patchan and the sophomore Krivo.
Yet, as expected, Battlefield performed best on the floor, registering a team score of 27.3.
Mumo and Krivo explained that one of the reasons for Battlefield's traditional success on the floor is that cheerleaders who happen to be on the team are used to tumbling, so they can perfect those moves on the open mats.
Battlefield currently sports six cheerleaders on the gymnastics team.
They also mentioned that the non-spring mats match what cheerleaders are used to training on compared to springed mats that may be more customary for traditional gymnasts.
"It's a different style," added Henry, recalling that when she used to compete on non-spring mats, "I had to tape my wrist."
For the Yellow Jackets, competing in the lesser division is a bit awkward given that OP won the state title three years in a row from 2007 to 2009.
That streak snapped in 2010 when Battlefield came within 1.3 points of Kellam for the state crown.
Since then, Northern Virginia schools have remained conspicuously absent from the top spots at states as Hampton Roads schools Great Bridge and Cox took home first place in 2011 and 2012, respectively, against Washington-Lee and Kellam.
If the Aloha Classic results offer any hint about what may be in store for the post-season, Stafford (110.650 points) is the team to beat in the Northwest Region while at least five other teams will be in contention for the second spot.
"Stafford was ridiculously good, good in a good way," said Henry.
Battlefield (105.875), Brooke Point (105.600), Loudoun County (103.875), Freedom-South Riding (101.775) and Colonial Forge (100.950) all broke the 100-point mark on Saturday while Loudoun Valley (96.950) and Potomac Falls (91.275) trailed in the navy division.
Though Osbourn Park's mark of 98.750 gave the Yellow Jackets a 1.125-point victory over Woodgrove in the silver division, OP would have been mired in seventh place in the never division up.
That suggests that either some of the Yellow Jackets' best athletes who missed the Saturday meet will need to return for the post-season in order for the Manassas school to have a shot at competing for states after their run through the Cardinal District finals.
"We compete with a lot of back-ups," said Knox.
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