By Kyle Shaner firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2, 2014
HILLIARD — Darke County seniors Paige Keller and Samantha Shook finished their high school gymnastics careers on the podium with Shook placing sixth on beam at state and Keller winning vault.
Ansonia’s Shook, Greenville’s Keller and Versailles freshman Jenna Frantz each competed at the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s individual gymnastics state championships on Saturday.
The top performance for the Darke County girls came from Keller, who tied Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ Alecia Farina for the state championship on vault with a 9.750.
“It was really overwhelming,” said Keller, who also competed on bars and scored an 8.400. “I was in complete awe and totally shocked. And I was just really, really happy.”
Keller, who first made the state meet as a sophomore, said after seeing the talent of the gymnasts at the state meet that year that she never thought she’d make the podium let alone win a state championship.
She went on to finish fourth on vault as a junior before winning the state title this year as a senior.
“It was so exciting,” she said. “I honestly couldn’t believe it.”
Shook competed in the all-around, scoring a 35.450, which was 15th best in the state. Her highlight of the meet came on beam in which she scored a 9.050 to finish in a three-way tie for sixth place in the state with Oregon Clay’s Jody DeMeo and Worthington Kilbourne’s Jaclyn Turner.
Shook also scored an 8.825 on floor, an 8.800 on vault and an 8.775 on bars.
Frantz competed on floor, scoring an 8.400.
Keller said it was an awesome weekend competing with her fellow Darke County gymnasts. She was really excited for Shook, she said, and very happy that Frantz got to experience the state competition.
“The weekend was awesome. It was so much fun,” Keller said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my senior year as a high school gymnast.”
Keller, who as a freshman along with Shook was one of the first two high school gymnasts in Darke County history, said she was grateful that her school allowed her to compete in varsity gymnastics and that the YMCA of Darke County allowed them to use its facilities to train.
For complete results from the state gymnastics meet, visit the OHSAA website at www.ohsaa.org.