APEX — The Green Hope gymnastics team captured the state title last year, but one thing had still eluded the young Falcons.
Green Hope had never won the Tri-9 Conference championship entering Friday’s conference meet at the Team Attraction Gymnastics Center.
Thanks to freshman Drew Grantham, that goal was finally achieved, as the Falcons dominated en route to 150.75 total points. Middle Creek (137), Lee County (132.90) and defending Tri-9 champ Apex (131.70) all finished behind Green Hope.
Grantham placed first in the floor (9.85), the bars (9.8) and the all around (38.75) to lead Green Hope to the title. The freshman said she was hoping to finish in the top four and was pleasantly surprised to win.
“We have an amazing young group of gymnasts,” said Green Hope and Cary coach Cindy Cotten. “Shay Ramsey and Priya Kamath led us to the state title last year and now to add Drew it’s a real powerhouse lineup.”
Ramsey tied for first in the vault (9.85), while Kamath posted solid scores across the board.
Danielle Cotten rejuvenated gymnastics at Middle Creek after the school had not had a team in several years. Two young freshmen, Caitlin Brookins and Elizabeth Farin, are giving the Mustangs a chance at the upcoming state meet.
Lee County, which won five straight conference titles from 2007-2011, was led by seniors Katie Lewis, Hailey Mundy and Kaylyn Clark.
Athens senior Alyssa Tucker, the two-time defending conference champion, finished in second in the bars (9.75) and the floor (9.7) behind Grantham. The Jaguar senior is looking forward to capturing her second title.
Team Attraction Gymnastics is the home gym for girls from most of the Tri-9 schools except for Athens and Panther Creek. Several gymnasts remarked how close-knit they are and how it’s almost impossible to cheer only for their particular school.
“You end up competing against teams but we really all want each other to do well and win,” said Holly Springs senior Megan Smith, who posted one of the top scores on the vault (9.7).
Former N.C. State gymnast Monica Ward now coaches both Holly Springs and Apex. Dani Garver paced the Cougars with a solid 37.60 all around score.
Cary was led by seniors Sara Hoyek (9.4 beam) and Lauren Griffin, while Panther Creek captain Tabitha Cabral helped the Catamounts to a fifth place finish.
Harnett Central (150.70) easily captured the Greater Neuse conference title ahead of Garner (130) and Clayton (126.75), while Millbrook (150.40) won the Cap Eight ahead of Leesville Road (125).