Teammates and co-state champion gymnasts Priyanka Kamath and Shailyn Ramsey of Green Hope each recorded near-perfect all-around scores of 39.0 to help the Falcons edge defending state champ Millbrook 155.35 to 154.600 for the Division I Large Team state title.
"It's a great way to end the season," said Green Hope coach Cindy Cotton. "The kids did a great job all season, and to finally get recognition at the state meet was just awesome. We have four seniors leaving, so for them to compete today and do their best ever out of four years competing is just awesome."
Saturday's meet at the Raleigh School of Gymnastics attracted a number of seniors performing the final routines of their gymnastics careers, but it was two of the youngest competitors - freshmen Kamath and Ramsey - who shined the brightest.
"It's amazing," Cotton said. "I'm going to have them for a while. They work well together in the gym and it shows. The performances that they did, with a score of a 39, that is incredible. You don't usually get that kind of a score."
Kamath took first on both the bars and the floor, while Ramsey finished third or better on the vault, bars and floor events. The Falcons also got a fourth place all-around finish from senior Paige Casey, who took third on the bars.
But Green Hope wasn't the only team to get a big lift from its freshman class. Millbrook junior Hannah Sobhan, the all-around champion a year ago, took third place Saturday with 38.95. The Wildcats boasted the meet's fifth and sixth-place finishers in freshmen Shannon O'Connor and Lydia Sobhan.
Apex, which finished third, posted 148.65 points and was led by freshman Kylie Stoffer and senior Caroline Trezona, who tied for ninth place all-around. Enloe took fourth with 147, thanks to senior Kenya Watson, who finished first in the vault with 9.75.
Athens Drive's Alyssa Tucker led area competitors with a second-place finish among individuals in Division II action.
Tucker, a junior already being recruited by top college gymnastics programs including Oklahoma, finished first in the bars and beam events with a pair of near-perfect scores of 9.900. Her all-around score of 38.600 included her high marks for the bars and beam events as well as her eighth-place scores of 9.350 on the vault and 9.450 on the floor.
Led by a top team score of 28.400 on the vault, Lee County finished with 111.400 points, good enough for second place behind Harnett Central's 113.650. Wilmington Ashley finished with the third-best score, followed by Panther Creek, who took fourth with 105.55 total points.
The Yellow Jackets' Rebeka Jackson won both the vault and floor events, and posted the top all-around score of anyone in her bracket with 38.350 points.
Jackson's teammate Madison Lilly tied for second place with Sami Smith of Panther Creek with an all-around mark of 38.250. Smith's performance was highlighted by a first-place finish on bars, while Lilly took second in both the vault and floor events.