Overcoming Adversity: Short-handed Dragons finish second in five-team event


Alyse Rickey of New Palestine competes on the uneven bars during their meet at The Gymnastics Company on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022.

Rob Baker | Daily Reporter

INDIANAPOLIS — New Palestine is looking at the big picture.

With just two weeks before the Connersville Sectional, the Dragons want to make sure they are at their healthiest when they get to the biggest event of the season.

In an event that included gymnasts from five schools, short-handed New Palestine was still able to finish second to Franklin Central, the host school at the event held at The Gymnastics Company on Wednesday.

The Dragons have been battling numerous nagging injuries even before the regular season started.

Head coach Deb Bruns said nearly everyone on her roster is banged up and bruised.

On Wednesday, shortly before the start of the meet, standout Kennedy Garrett had to be scratched from the lineup due to an ankle injury. Another gymnast, frosh Chiara Polo, had to be taken off the competitors list in two of her events. Addy Kendall, who was able to finish sixth in the all-around, was also not at full strength for the entire meet.

The Dragons still had the best score on uneven bars and had an all-around total of 95.800. Franklin Central, led by defending state all-around champion Austyn Dykes, had 99.825. Lapel was third with 95.100. Scecina totaled 53.850. Frankton, with just one competitor, did not record a team score.

“Tonight was kind of all over the place,” Bruns said. “Our scores have been consistently going down because we’ve had to pull out some of our top kids because of injuries to give them break, or to recuperate. We’ve been doing that a lot.

“Considering everything, overall, we did really well (Wednesday).”

New Palestine frosh J.J. Fee placed third in the all-around with a score of 32.975. Dykes, who took top honors on beam, floor and vault, won with a 36.500. Frankton’s Abbie Elder, who won the uneven bars, was second with a 35.325.

Fee is one of a number of Bruns’ gymnasts that has been dealing with not being at 100 percent.

“She’s one that we have slowly added skills back (to her events),” Bruns said.

Kendall was sixth (32.050) and Emily Hunter placed 12th (25.275).

The Dragons were third after their opening event, vault. Polo placed seventh with an 8.325. Hunter was ninth with a score of 8.300.

After a slow start on vault, the Dragons came back with their top event of the night.

Their score of 22.800 was best among the full teams. Fee earned another podium placing, taking third with a score of 8.100. Alyse Rickey and Kendall tied for sixth with identical tallies of 7.350. Rebecca Johnson was eighth with a 7.175.

On floor, Fee and Kendall placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Fee had an 8.725. Kendall was close behind scoring 8.675. Blakelie Brubeck was ninth with a 7.75.

New Pal finished the night on beam. Fee was fourth with an 8.275. Kendall placed seventh with a 7.800.

“We were 10-2 coming into (this meet),” Bruns added. “In the long run this meet doesn’t mean anything (with the sectional two weeks away). We’ve had a great season considering how injured we’ve been.

“We’ve tried to keep the kids having fun. It’s hard when you’re hurting all the time.”

The Dragons have two more tune-ups before the sectional. They’ll travel to Morristown on Tuesday and finish the season on Senior Night, Tuesday, Feb. 22 against Shelbyville.