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Archive for Sunday, November 5, 2006

Lions ‘queens of the world’

Jones snares individual title, LHS takes team crown at state gymnastics

November 5, 2006

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Lawrence High's Abby Jones competes on the uneven parallel bars at the state gymnastics meet. Jones won the all-around crown, and LHS won the team title Saturday at SM East.

Lawrence High's Abby Jones competes on the uneven parallel bars at the state gymnastics meet. Jones won the all-around crown, and LHS won the team title Saturday at SM East.

— As the Lawrence High gymnastics team mounted the stage at Shawnee Mission East's gymnasium, Abby Jones and Kara Kellison held the trophy while Mallory West placed gold medals around each of their necks.

LHS earned the hardware by winning its third consecutive state gymnastics title Saturday with a score of 110.3 points.

"This is what we've been working for all season," West said. "Everyone should feel like they're queens of the world."

No one shone more regally than Jones, who swept the vault, bars, beam and floor to achieve a career-high and state-title record in the all-around with a 38.4.

"She did an awesome job today," LHS and Free State coach Kathy Johnson said. "She's very, very talented."

Jones, who has won the all-around at every gymnastics competition this year, tabulated her results between events and knew she was on record-setting pace.

"I was going for that," Jones said.

Jones, however, looked to be in jeopardy of losing those individual honors during her last event. She missed the landing and nearly hit her head on the apparatus during her first vault attempt. The senior then slowed her run on the second attempt to nail her round-off and flip of the board for a 9.5.

"I knew I could do it," Jones said.

Free State High's Laura Devlin performs on the balance beam. Devlin qualified individually for Saturday's state meet and took fifth on the bars in Prairie Village despite a sprained ankle. "Bars are where it's at," she said.

Free State High's Laura Devlin performs on the balance beam. Devlin qualified individually for Saturday's state meet and took fifth on the bars in Prairie Village despite a sprained ankle. "Bars are where it's at," she said.

West, who won the state all-around the last two years, finished sixth overall and second in bars and beam. That placement is impressive, considering she participated in all four events at a meet for the first time since undergoing reconstructive surgery on her right ankle in March.

"Today was huge for me, just coming out here and going for all four," West said. "It's a big step."

West said she would ice her ankle Saturday night.

Asked if her ankle hurt, she replied like a gritty champion.

"The goal was to get through today," she said. "I'll worry about the after effects later."

West was not the only local athlete to experience ankle problems. Free State did not qualify its team, but Laura Devlin competed as an individual.

Despite spraining her ankle Thursday, she finished fifth on bars.

"I tried my hardest, but it hurt really bad to do floor and vault," Devlin said. "Bars are where it's at."

Perry-Lecompton's Jennifer Pogge placed fourth on vault but had a mishap in Devlin's best event. Pogge, who competes for Free State during the season, scored a 36.5 despite slipping after her dismount on the bars.

University of Kansas Freshman Lindsey Fisher hair sprays Kara Kellison's hair in place before Kellison preforms on the uneven parallel bars. Kellison competed in the girls Gymnastics State Championship at Shawnee Mission East Saturday afternoon.

University of Kansas Freshman Lindsey Fisher hair sprays Kara Kellison's hair in place before Kellison preforms on the uneven parallel bars. Kellison competed in the girls Gymnastics State Championship at Shawnee Mission East Saturday afternoon.

"Jennifer did great," Johnson said. "She fell on bars. She still got third all-around."

Jones set her sights on a record-breaking all-around. Because she does not plan to participate in gymnastics collegiately, she entered her last career meet with tremendous focus.

"I just really wanted to end on a good note," Jones said "If I didn't do good, I would've been so sad about it."

Saturday's meet completed a dominant season for Jones and the LHS team, which also won its first Sunflower League title this year.

"I'm just tickled for these girls because they've worked very hard to do it three years in a row," Johnson said. "I couldn't be prouder."

Comments

gymnast925 7 years, 10 months ago

For anyone who has never had the pleasure of watching Abby Jones compete, you are truly missing out on an incredible experience! She is the most amazing gymnast, and this article does not even begin to do justice to the performance she had on Saturday. She broke the state all-around record, a feat that hadn't been accomplished in 12 years, by .15. In gymnastics, that's a huge difference. It will probably take another 30 years before her record's broken. She also tied for the State record on beam with a score of 9.7, another amazing achievement. I would like to add that Kara Kellison did a great job Saturday as well, placing 4th place on floor. She has consistently competed well this year and has contributed to the team at every meet on all four events. Yet, for some reason contributing in only two events earns more credit by the Journal World's standards. Kara is an outstanding gymnast who deserves to be recognized for her beautiful work. That said, I would just like to congratulate Abby, Kara and their LHS teammates on an amazing gymnastics season and an awesome performance at State!! Good job Lions!! 102 and proud!

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newbaby24 7 years, 10 months ago

i would like to ditto the last comment. i feel that the lhs TEAM itself does not get enough attention. i would like to know why a gymnast who only competes two events gets more attention than the gymnasts who consistanly contribute to the teams scores. i would like to congratulate the gymnasts of lhs, including jessica, leighann, maria, and caitlin. you girls all helped your team to win #102 and don't forget that. CONGRATULATIONS LADIES!

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sunflower97 7 years, 10 months ago

Our family saw some outstanding gymnastics. The LHS team - ALL of them - worked so hard all season and they DESERVE this win! Our young daughter looks up to these girls and I'm glad she has them all as role models. We are so impressed with the Lawrence team as well as the girls from around here who competed as individuals (Pogge and Devlin).

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