By BUTCH HARMON
The Grand Ledge gymnastics team continued adding to its dynasty this season, as it claimed a sixth consecutive state championship.
The Comets overcame a slow start to win the championship. Grand Ledge finished with 149.350 points, Canton was second with 145.75, Farmington third with 141.475, and Rockford fourth with 140.675.
The sixth straight title looked easy on paper, but it was anything but easy, and hard work was the key to success.
“As their coach, I really, really appreciated all their time and dedication they put into the season,” coach Duane Haring said. “They gave up their Friday nights to be in the gym training to reach a goal they set for themselves at the start of the season. As a coach I’m so proud of them. A lot of kids talk big at the beginning of the season, but when it comes down to reality they are not willing to do the work and put the time in. These kids were willing to do that and put in the time, and that was why they were successful. I was amazed at how dedicated they were.”
The Comets were led by a quartet of talented gymnasts, seniors Sara Peltier and Lauren Clark along with junior Presley Allison and freshman Rachel Hogan.
Peltier finished in eighth in Division 1 in the all-around with a score of 36.825. Peltier was second on the vault and fourth in both the bars and the floor.
“Sara has been on four state championship teams,” Haring said. “She has come a long way as a gymnast in her four years on the team.”
Hogan, in her first year of high school gymnastics, finished 10th in the all-around competition. Hogan won the floor routine with a 9.8 score and placed sixth on the vault and 11th on the bars.
“Rachel won the floor with a 9.8 score, and that was fabulous for a freshman,” Haring said.
Allison led the way in Division 2, as she won the all-around competition with a score of 37.875. She finished first in vault, beam, and floor and was third on the bars.
Clark finished second in the all-around in Division 2. She also took second on the beam, bars, and floor.
“If it weren’t for those four girls we would not have won the state,” Haring said.
After graduating some key gymnasts from last year’s team, a sixth state title was not a given for the Comets when the season began.
“At the start of the season, I was not sure what to expect,” Haring said. “I knew we had three good ones in Sara, Lauren, and Presley, but I knew we had to get a little sharper. Then Rachel joined the team and gave us that fourth score that you need.”