By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
TIPP CITY — Lizzie Deal knows her time is winding down.
But so long as the Troy High School senior gymnast has a chance to perform in front of large numbers of friends and family, she’s going to take advantage of it.
“I really love home meets, because I can compete in front of my family and friends and show then what I can do,” said Deal, who took second place in the all-around Monday in the Northmont Invitational at Gem City Gymnastics. Northmont and Troy both consider Gem City their home gym, essentially making it a home meet for the Trojans in actuality, if not in name. “Some of the club girls I compete with were able to come and watch, too. It feels cozy here. It feels homey. We all love competing here.”
With so many friendly eyes watching from the crowd, Deal put in a fine performance, taking second in the all-ar0und with a score of 35.550. Versailles’ Jayden Barga won the all-around with a 36.750.
“I think it went OK,” Deal said of her performance. “I felt like there’s still a lot of things I could do better. I’m just going to have to keep working.”
The other Trojans to place in the top 10 in the all-around for the Trojans was junior Sarah Kraynek, who finished sixth with a 33.300. Kraynek, like Deal, also appreciated the chance to compete in a rare “home” meet. The Trojans have just one other competition at Gem City, which will come in a few weeks as Troy’s seniors are honored.
“I like competing here, because I feel like we have a home advantage,” Kraynek said. “All equipment is different, but it’s nice to be at home and know how the equipment is going to work. We had our ups and downs, but overall, I think things went OK.”
In addition to placing second in the all-around, Deal also placed first on the floor exercise (9.4), second on the bars (9.0), 10th on the beam (8.5) and sixth on the vault (8.65). Kraynek placed fourth on the floor (9.2), fifth on the vault (8.8) and eighth on the bars (8.050). Also for the Trojans, Abby Baker was eighth on the floor (9.0).
“For our first meet of the season, I think things went pretty well,” Troy coach Larry McCoppin said. “We did a lot of good things, but we also know we have some room for improvement on a lot of things. Our girls have been working hard, and I know they enjoy the opportunity to compete in their home gym.”
Miamisburg won the team title with 136.3 points. Troy was second with 135.2 points and Versailles was third with 133.3 points. Those three teams have been the top three in the district the past several years, and are expected to be again this year. The top two teams in each district receive trips to the state meet, making Monday’s competition an early glimpse into what could possibly happen later in the season.
“It was good that we saw both of those teams and we were only one point from the top team,” McCoppin said. “This was good to have this meet early in the year, to kind of see where all of the teams stand. We expect to see both of them again later in the year.”
Deal said she expects all three teams to be better at the district showdown.
“I think it’s still kind of early,” she said. “All three teams messed up a lot. I know we need to fix some things to get ready for later in the season.”
“We can do a lot better,” she said. “We all made some goofy bloopers. We’ve got a lot of things we need to work on.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong
Kraynek said she expects all three teams to be better when thy meet at districts.