CONNERSVILLE — A handful of area gymnasts took to the Connersville Spartan Bowl floor Saturday morning to compete in one of six sectionals taking place statewide. Although winning Richmond (106.625) and runner-up New Castle (104.6) will send the most girls on to the Columbus East regional, a few dozen athletes were given the chance to advance.

New Palestine (98.75) was the third and final team to move to the next round, with the host Spartans coming in fourth and Rushville’s Lady Lions fifth out of eight complete teams.

Rushville totaled 92.55 in the results; junior Nova Tackett had the highest Lion placement when she finished 8th on the uneven bars (7.95). Tackett was also 9th in the all-around competition, scoring 30.775. Just behind her was freshman Bell Westphal, who garnered a 30.475 in her first sectional. Westphal tied Tackett for 12th place on the vault, each collecting an 8.5 score from the judges.

Junior Annie Thoman competed in just one event but made it count with a 13th-place nod; she scored a 7.35 on the bars.
Rushville’s best apparatus rotation was its last one of the day, the vault. The Lions scored a collective 25.35, which was good for fourth behind the day’s top three teams. Junior Katie Thoman and sophomore Cora Emory were locked in a tie at 19th place on the event, each receiving an 8.35.
The Lions’ lowest score came on the balance beam, but 21.375 was still good for fourth place –again behind Richmond, New Castle and New Pal. In her first sectional appearance on the apparatus, according to coach Jenni Philpot, junior Emma Philpot stayed on the beam for her entire routine to tie teammate Westphal for 14th place (7.4).

On floor exercise, Rushville picked up a 23.375 and 6th-place finish in the event. Emory topped the Lions’ efforts with a 7.9, good for 17th place. Tackett (7.75) and K. Thoman (7.725) were 21st and 22nd, respectively. Westphal was 26th with a score of 7.425.
After the walk-in, the Lions started their day on the uneven bars. There they scored a 22.45, which was again fourth behind the three advancing teams. Westphal came in 15th with a score of 7.15 and Philpot turned in a 6.65 for 22nd overall.

Other Lion scores were Tackett’s 6.575 and Emory’s 6.1 on the beam, placing them at 20th and 21st, respectively.
Individuals placing in the top six of an event punched their ticket to regional as well. Shelbyville freshman Kaliyah Brown was third on vault (9.15) as Richmond junior Elizabeth Ruger 

won the event (9.55). Connersville senior Allison Hoffman was third on the beam (8.6); Richmond’s Kinsey Bosell won the beam (8.975). Union County senior Hayley Kottka moves on to Columbus after placing fourth on bars (8.5). Winning bars was New Castle senior Samantha Ward (9.275).
Ruger, who was also tops on the floor with 9.575, was co-champion on the day with Ward; each scored 36.7 on the all-around. Hoffman was 5th in all-around, netting a 33.4 total.   

Shelbyville, Morristown and Muncie Central were the other complete teams competing.