Thirteen of the 21 teams competing in Friday’s meet at the Raleigh School of Gymnastics hailed from Wake County, including last year’s state runner-up, Millbrook, and defending state champion Green Hope.
And just like in last year’s state championship, Millbrook’s top-notch performance was bested only by the Falcons.
Green Hope edged Millbrook by less than a point Friday. The Falcons scored a team total 152.05 points to the Wildcats’ 151.5.
The Falcons win was largely helped by freshman Drew Grantham, who finished with four top-two finishes.
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Grantham tied for first in beam with a score of 9.9, and finished second in bars (9.8) and floor (9.8). She earned second in the all-around with a score of 38.65.
Athens Drive’s Alyssa Tucker finished first in the all-around with a score of 38.9 after placing first in vault (9.5) and bars (9.85).
Anna Leigh Allman was the only first place finisher for Millbrook, tying Grantham for the top score on the beam.
The other top ten team finishers from Wake County included Middle Creek (fifth), Apex (seventh), Leesville Road (eighth), Garner (ninth) and Knightdale (tenth).
Second-year Millbrook coach Rachel Katz-Garland said despite coming up short in the meet, she was pleased with how her team has performed so far this season.
“This was our second meet of the year, and we won our first meet,” she said. “We are right at our expectations.”
The majority of Millbrook’s 13 competitors are underclassmen, including eight freshmen and sophomores. Many of the gymnasts have been competing with and against each other for the majority of their lives. Still, each team is allowed only five competitors for each event, so keeping everyone happy is a task.
“The main thing is I try to be fair to everyone,” Katz-Garland said. “But I have to do what is in the best interest of the team.”
Katz-Garland said the team has already qualified for the state championship meet on Jan. 26. Between now and then they will have two more meets. She says she knows that their state runner-up status will likely bring out the best in her team’s competitors for the rest of this season.
“I think that there are teams that want to beat us,” she said. “I think my girls are stepping it up this year.”