CONNERSVILLE — Every routine, every landing, everything mattered.

By just.05, New Palestine claimed its second straight Connersville Gymnastics Sectional title and advanced, along with the second- and third-place teams, to Friday’s Franklin Central Regional.

The Dragons finished with a team score of 100.575. Connersville scored 100.525. New Castle will also continue after scoring 96.225.

“Being able to have a solid routine,” New Palestine first-year head coach Taylor Brown said of one of the key reasons her team was able to win the tightly-contested meet. “It’s a very small margin, so it’s the little things, [not having] a pointed toe, or a slight wobble on something, that makes all the difference.

“The biggest thing was how they were supporting each other. They came in ready to lock in and focus on the team and cheering each other on.”

As slim as the margin was, the Dragons felt confident they were going to win after the third of their four rotations.

New Palestine scored 27.1 on floor exercise (.6 better than Connersville) led by the 1-2 finish of Olivia Frank and Lynzie Stiller.

Frank won the event with a season-best score of 9.35. Stiller was second with a 9.15.

“Olivia changed her last pass, had a clean routine, and Lynzie added a new skill,” Brown said of how her sophomore gymnasts topped the leaderboard.

Stiller won the all-around competition with a score of 34.925. She was second in three events. Along with following Frank on floor, she was second on the balance beam (8.625) and parallel bars (8.4).

On bars, Stiller tied for the best score, but Connersville’s Kierra McKinney was awarded first by the chief judge.

“I’m very excited,” Stiller said. “I wasn’t expecting it this year because I was throwing different stuff on floor, doing new skills. I still fell on beam, but I still was able [to win all-around].

“I remember last year I was so stressed out I couldn’t even comprehend what had happened. This year it’s a lot easier and I wasn’t as stressed out. It’s awesome. I feel very blessed. I feel amazing.”

“She always comes to practice and meets ready to work and do her best,” Brown added on Stiller. “She always wants to be better than her last meet and she did just that today.”

Along with the top score on floor, the Dragons had the high score on balance beam (24.825). Connersville had the top team scores on vault (26.275) and bars (24.225).

After two rotations, New Palestine was fourth in team scoring, but the Dragons opened on bars and beam, considered the two most difficult events.

“When we got our rotations during the week and knew we were starting on bars and then going to beam, the toughest two events, I was kind of excited but also a little nervous,” Brown said. “Once we did a really solid grouping on bars and we only had to take about three falls on beam, obviously you don’t want to take any, but only taking three was good. At that point, I kind of knew, we’ve got this, we just had to keep having solid routines on floor and vault.”

Frank was fourth all-around with a score of 33.525. Along with winning on floor, she was third on beam (8.4).

Stiller added a sixth on vault (8.75). Frank was seventh on bars (7.55).

Senior Rebecca Johnson’s score of 7.8 placed ninth on beam, giving the Dragons three gymnasts in the top 10.

They had three in the top 10 on floor, too. Chiara Polo finished 10th with a score of 8.6.

“I just felt like everybody was very positive and I came in ready to win a sectional championship,” Brown added. “I told them all week this week we’re coming out of Saturday’s meet as sectional champions and we did just that, even though it was a little scary.”

Along with the top three teams, the top six placers in each event advance to the regional. That will be the case at Friday’s Franklin Central Regional, too, with the advancing teams and individuals moving on to the state meet at Ball State University in Muncie.

The Dragons’ attention switches to getting ready for the regional in hopes of qualifying for the state meet.

“Every start value [needs to be] as high as it can and we’ll be practicing consistency on our routines. Staying on beam and not having any falls on bars could help us make it out of regional,” Brown added.

2024 Connersville Gymnastics Sectional

Team scores: New Palestine 100.575, Connersville 100.525, New Castle 96.225, Rushville 94.175, Richmond 90.325, Shelbyville 85.725, Morristown 80.9, Franklin County 65.65, Muncie Central 61.025, Southwestern (Shelbyville) 31.675, Union County 30.75, Milan 29.95, Tri 27.75, Northeastern 8.85.

Vault: Ainsley Bodwell, Connersville, 9.15; Bell Westphal, Rushville, 9.0; Laura Fischer, New Castle, 8.9; Aubrie Irvine, Northeastern, 8.85; Audrey Harper, Franklin County, 8.8; Lynzie Stiller, New Palestine, 8.75.

Bars: Kierra McKinney, Connersville, 8.4; Lynzie Stiller, New Palestine, 8.4; Bell Westphal, Rushville, 8.375; Lillie Bischoff, Connersville, 7.925; Ainsley Bodwell, Connersville, 7.9; Audrey Harper, Franklin County, 7.65.

Beam: Shelby Nichols, New Castle, 8.85; Lynzie Stiller, New Palestine, 8.625; Olivia Frank, New Palestine, 8.4; Ainsley Bodwell, Connersville, 8.3; Rachael Ruf, Franklin County, 8.275, Remi Spicklemire, Morristown, 8.25.

Floor: Olivia Frank, New Palestine, 9.35; Lynzie Stiller, New Palestine, 9.15; Audrey Harper, Franklin County, 9.15; Ainsley Bodwell, Connersville, 9.05; Rachael Ruf, Franklin County, 8.85; Lillie Bischoff, Connersville, 8.8.

All-Around: Lynzie Stiller, New Palestine, 34.925; Ainsley Bodwell, Connersville, 34.4; Bell Westphal, Rushville, 34.3; Olivia Frank, New Palestine, 33.525; Kierra McKinney, Connersville, 33.075; Lillie Bischoff, Connersville, 33.05.