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Archive for Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Firebirds fifth at Invite

Free State’s Baxter ties for second in all-around at 14-team meet

October 7, 2003

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Lawrence High junior Chelsey Ornburn was doing everything right Monday when she tried her luck at an impromptu handstand competition.

She didn't stay inverted as long as her two competitors, but, like the rest of the night, she improved on past performances.

"I did better I guess," Ornburn said after the showdown that took place while the 14 teams were waiting for final results of the Lawrence All-Around Invitational. "I'm not very good at handstands, though."

Luckily for Ornburn, that skill wasn't part of the four-category competition since she had her best showing of the season, finishing 20th in the all-around at LHS.

"It was an exciting evening for me," she said.

While Ornburn set personal bests in both the beam and bar categories, it was Free State's Lacey Baxter who stole the show -- tying for second place with Blue Valley's Katie Herrera with a score of 36.225.

Kathleen DeFord, of Lee's Summit, Mo., won the all-around title with a score of 36.4.

"I definitely didn't expect this in this meet," Baxter said. "It kind of makes me nervous though, because I know that I still can get a lot better. And if I do that I can have a really strong showing at state as long as I perform.

"I always say that in gymnastics, you're either on or you're off. I was pretty 'on' tonight."

Free State High's Lacey Baxter competes in the balance beam. Baxter
won with a score of 9.55 and tied for second in the all-around
Monday night at Lawrence High.

Free State High's Lacey Baxter competes in the balance beam. Baxter won with a score of 9.55 and tied for second in the all-around Monday night at Lawrence High.

Baxter nailed her beam routine -- winning that event with a score of 9.55. She also took sixth in the bars and the floor exercises.

"I changed my bar routine before this meet," Baxter said. "I went with a more difficult move so that I could have a better start on my scoring opportunities."

Baxter wasn't the only Firebird putting up points Monday. Both Kim Baker and Sara Hase, who finished 19th with 32.85 points, scored more than 30 points, helping the Firebirds score 100 points for the second time this season. Free State finished fifth as a team; Lawrence High took seventh, scoring 95.675.

Shawnee Mission Northwest won the team title, but the meet focused on individual scoring as each team had only three competitors. Shawnee Mission Northwest scored 107.475, while Olathe East took second with 105.535 points and Manhattan finished third with 104.125.

"Both teams did about what I expected them to do," city coach Kathy Johnson said. "It's a good meet because it's the midpoint of the season and it allows you to see how you match up with 14 other teams from around the state. Mostly everybody except for the Wichita teams and Newton were here, so it lets us know where we stand."



Lions sophomore Meredith West said it was hard not to get excited Monday.

"It's really one of the bigger meets of the season and definitely has that feel," said West, who finished with a score of 32.325. Nicole Jones rounded out Lawrence's trio with a score of 30.625.

On the lap of her senior teammate Ellie Lloyd, Nicole Jones calms
her nerves before competing in the parallel bars at the Lawrence
All-Around Invitational. The gymnastics event was Monday at
Lawrence High.

On the lap of her senior teammate Ellie Lloyd, Nicole Jones calms her nerves before competing in the parallel bars at the Lawrence All-Around Invitational. The gymnastics event was Monday at Lawrence High.

West said the experience would prepare LHS for later important meets.

"It's fun to see all the gymnasts from everywhere," she said. "But also nice that it is a home meet for us, and that we can have our students and fans show up and support us."

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