Fee advances to State Finals

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COLUMBUS — For the fifth straight year, the New Palestine gymnastics program will be represented at the State Finals. The Dragons hope to begin a new team state streak next season.

Kate Fee won her third championship of the postseason with a regional balance beam triumph Friday at Columbus East to advance to the State Finals next Saturday at Ball State’s Worthen Arena. The top six individuals in each regional event, including the all-around, qualified for state. Fee took fifth in the all-around at Columbus and will compete in all four State Finals competitions.

The top three teams also advanced out of Columbus, but a year after sending the entire squad to Muncie with a second-place regional finish, the Dragons were fifth among six teams Friday.

“We kind of knew it was going to be a long shot anyway,” NP coach Jenny Musselman said of a top-three team finish, given their established opponents’ season-long scores. “I tried to take all the pressure off the kids, thinking maybe we could go out and get really pumped up and have fun and hit (all the routines).

“But I think they ended up having a really good time anyway, and that’s all that really matters. And ending on a good note, and I think they were all pretty proud of themselves.”

Columbus North won its 13th ever regional title with 109.55 points, ahead of Columbus East (106), Connersville (105.025), Bloomington South (104.675), the Dragons (101.125) and New Castle (99.975). North moved into a tie with the crosstown rival Olympians for third-most regional championships all-time behind Valparaiso (19) and Fort Wayne Dwenger (17).

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