INDIANAPOLIS — It’s official. Come March, New Palestine gymnastics should capture its first sectional title since 2006.
Heading into this season, the projection around the prep gymnastics community was that longtime power Roncalli would be in for a “down year,” and that with New Palestine finishing just behind the Rebels during the Catholic school’s current four-year sectional win streak, the Dragons would be the new top tumblers.
In a dual meet Thursday in Roncalli’s home gym, New Palestine got confirmation of its elite status.
Led by Kenzi Hoffman, Dragons gymnasts won three of four individual events, plus the all-around, and beat Roncalli for the first time in recent memory, 100.575-97.45.
“I think we’re definitely the favorite right now,” New Palestine coach Jenny Musselman said. “Roncalli has been so good for so many years, but I knew there was no way they could replace the twins. And then their No. 3 girl didn’t return.”
Musselman cautioned that this relatively-young and still-improving Roncalli group should not be overlooked, as they find their way without Cassie and Kaitie Schultheis. The Roncalli sisters were a thorn in the side of the Dragons and other teams throughout the state, leading the Rebels to a 53-0 regular season record over their four-year careers before graduating last spring. Another top Rebel chose not to compete this season.
On Jan. 12, Noblesville handed Roncalli its first loss since a Bush was president, 99.625-95.325.