VERSAILLES – Versailles gymnasts Madison Ahrens, Jadyn Barga and Ellie Barga are returning to the Ohio High School Athletic Association state meet for a second consecutive year.
Ahrens and Jadyn Barga both qualified for the state meet in the all-around while Ellie Barga qualified on the balance beam.
“I’m so proud and super excited for them,” Coach Jessica Pothast said. “They’re awesome gymnasts with awesome talent.”
All three girls were part of Versailles’ 2017 team, which was the first gymnastics team in Darke County history to make the state meet. Last year’s squad finished sixth out of 12 teams at state.
“I think it’s different because we’re not going as a team this year,” Jadyn Barga, a junior, said.
The girls all said they wish their entire team could have advanced to state again, but that’s not dampening their excitement to return as individuals.
Ahrens and Jadyn Barga both are competing in the individual all-around for a second consecutive year.
Last year Ahrens finished 12th out of 33 competitors in the all-around competition with a total score of 36.000. She finished 10th on vault with a 9.375 and finished 14th on floor with an 8.975. She also scored an 8.925 on balance beam and an 8.725 on uneven bars.
“Just hit every event and have fun,” the junior said of her goals this time around.
Jadyn Barga finished 15th in last year’s all-around competition with a 35.650. She finished fourth on uneven bars with a 9.250, finished 11th on vault with a 9.300 and finished 32nd on floor with an 8.400. She also recorded an 8.700 on beam.
This year she’s looking to place in the vault competition.
Ellie Barga competed in last year’s team competition, but this year earned a spot in the individual competition for the first time. She’ll compete on the balance beam in her lone event.
“It’s a lot of training, but since there’s only one event I guess I can dial it down a little bit and just focus on the one,” she said.
Only having one event gives her more time to prepare for that event, the Versailles sophomore said, but it also puts more pressure on her to put forth her best showing.
“You have to make sure you hit everything, but you don’t have to worry about the other events,” she said.
Pothast expects last year’s experience to benefit the girls as they prepare to compete on Saturday.
“I think they had an opportunity last year to be nervous and get those jitters out,” the Versailles coach said. “And this year they now what they’re going into, and I think they have a lot more confidence going into that this year.”
The three Versailles girls will compete in the individual competition on Saturday at Hilliard High School. The parade of champions will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the competition following at noon.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.