Like many this winter, Neuqua Valley senior Sara Cushing has been a victim of the flu and cold epidemic.
She wouldn’t allow it keep her from competing in the final Neuqua Valley Invite of her career though. Instead, she had an unforgettable effort on Saturday, taking second place on beam with an 8.95 and top honors on floor with a 9.05.
“I woke up this morning and wasn’t feeling the greatest but had to come out here and do it for the team,” she said. “I was really happy with how it turned out.”
Neuqua Valley settled for fifth place in the eight-team meet with 132.125 points. Prairie Ridge co-op, one of the favorites to win a state title, won handily with 145.775 points while runner-up Lake Park had a 136.7.
“I’m still not satisfied with where we’re at,” Neuqua Valley coach Jo Ann Pschigoda said. “Sara winning floor was great and Isis (Ruff) added some difficulty which was good but then we had three falls. There’s two points there that could’ve put us into third place.”
Ruff (33), Emily Jacobs (32.75) and Allie Winek (29.55) represented the Wildcats as all-arounders. Shaniah Lim, who is returning from a back injury, tied for 13th on beam with an 8.2 and also competed on floor. Natalie Kizior had an 8.4 on vault and Meghan Lescock had a 6.6 on bars.
Injuries have continued to decimate the Waubonsie Valley/Metea Valley co-op squad. It’s gotten so bad that Waubonsie/Metea only had two gymnasts compete in the floor exercise on Saturday for a 15.7 total.
Waubonsie/Metea placed eighth with 110.975 points.
“We’ve only got two gymnasts on floor and then we literally only have four on the other three events,” Waubonsie/Metea coach Nicole Daly said. “So it’s not been a good season in terms of injuries.”
The outbreak began before the season when it was announced that state-qualifier Nina Brandenburg would miss the season with injuries. Marianna Georgiou, Alexa Puccio and Katie Stewart are also sidelined now and Jess Malon was limited to only performing on bars, although she earned fourth place with a 9.35.
Alaina Kapla (32.025) and Carolyn Jennrich (31.8) competed in the all-around for Waubonsie/Metea.