New Palestine gymnasts advance to regional round

CONNERSVILLE — When Grace Shanahan is healthy, she can compete like a champion, and she proved it during the Connersville Sectional.

A year after placing seventh on the balance beam at sectional, the New Palestine sophomore won the individual title Saturday and finished second in the all-around to advance to the Connersville Regional.

Shanahan was limited as a freshman last season while regaining her form after surgery, but in her second season with the Dragons she’s been a team leader in scoring and followed the same pattern in the postseason.

She scored a 9.425 on the beam ahead of Pendleton Heights’ Cassie Zehr’s 9.0 to win the event. Shanahan tallied 35.7 total points in the all-around, just behind Zehr’s sectional-winning score of 35.725.

Shanahan tied for second on the floor exercise with a 9.05 and was third in the uneven bars with an 8.675. Her vault score of 8.55 placed her 12th overall.

The Dragons finished fourth as a team with 99.5 points in a field of 15 schools. Richmond won the team title with 102.425. Connersville was second at 100.975 and New Castle placed third with 100.075.

The top three teams advance to regional as a group while the top six placers in the all-around and in each individual event also move on.

New Palestine’s Sarah Thompson will join Shanahan at regional as a qualifier on floor exercise. She placed fifth in the event with an 8.9.

On floor exercise, Kinsey Dilley was 14th (8.475) for the Dragons, while on beam Taylor Brown was 16th (7.725) and Anna Greiner was 20th (7.475).

On bars, Emma Poag was 17th (7.65) and Thompson was 11th (8.65) on vault. Brown tied for 12th (8.55) and Emma Poag was 15th (8.5) on vault. Brown was 20th in the all-around (30.325).

The regional will begin at 11 a.m. this Saturday at the Connersville Spartan Bowl.