By John Raffel
It was truly the home mat advantage for Rockford’s gymnastics team March 13 and 14 at the state finals, which were hosted by the Rams.
Rockford won the state title and had the top overall individual performer in Morgan Korf.
The Rams scored 147.975 points to finish ahead of Canton (146.225), Grand Ledge (141.75), Howell (140.9), Farmington (139.875), Forest Hills (139.775), and seven other schools. Rockford had three girls who competed in all four events – uneven parallel bars, vault, balance beam, and floor exercise.
“It’s a really strong team; we have a lot of depth,” Korf said.
Madi Myers (37.825), Korf (37.8), and Nicole Coughlin (36.575) led the scoring for Rockford.
“We’re extremely strong and deep,” Rockford-Sparta coach Allison Tran said. “That’s where we kind of set ourselves apart from other teams. If we have an injury, like we do, we have to pull up No. 6 and No. 7, but they can still score for us and count. We have multiple people that can compete at this high level.”
The team meet was on Friday, and individuals, including Korf, competed on Saturday.
Korf had a score of 37.8245 to finish ahead of Isabella Nguyen of Grosse Pointe North at 37.59. Korf had 9.4 for the vault, 9.5 for uneven parallel bars, 9.375 for balance beam, and 9.55 for floor exercise. “It still hasn’t hit me,” she smiled. “There’s so many good gymnasts in the state. I just don’t believe it’s me. Watching the last event and a couple of people fall, I still didn’t believe it.”
“It’s not just her composure, but her skills have improved tremendously this year,” Tran said. “She’s really picked it up on vault and bars. In particular, she’s just solid everywhere.
“I could tell she was more composed that meet. She was solid all the way around. Her scores were better. It was little things like jump connections. That’s kind of what you want to see from the upper-level girls. She did every little thing I asked her to do.”
“I didn’t fall in anything,” Korf said. “Floor and beam, I like those events, but today I was a little shaky on beam.”
Korf was pleasantly surprised to discover that she had won the overall title. ”She never thought she was going to be there. We saw it for her,” Tran said. “We have a team full of people that can be champions. She really hit it out of the park today.”
“I went out there and did the gymnastics I’ve been doing all year,” Korf said. “One last routine on everything, I’m glad I nailed it.”
Last season, Korf was 18th in the overall standings. But she’s only a junior. “I hope to have another great year,” she said.
Rockford had two other girls in the top 10 for all-around with Nicole Coughlin tied for fifth at 37.2 and Madi Myers in ninth at 36.150.