By John Raffel

A difficult part for Rockford gymnastics coach Michelle Ankney to say goodbye to her seniors was it came two days before Rockford was to host the state meet on March 14. The MHSAA had suspended the season because of the coronavirus.

But she also was denied the chance to take one more look at senior Morgan Case.

Case was the defending state vault champion and was in her fourth season of gymnastics.

“Her consistency on each event helped bring her and our team a lot of success this season,” Ankney said. “She has been the all-around champion at the Flip Flop Invitational and the Kenowa Hills Invite this year. The key has been setting goals, working hard, and adding a few skills to help increase value to her routines.

“I think Morgan’s biggest improvement from last year is her bar routine. She is continuing to add new skills. It has typically been her weakest event, but her improvements have helped increase her scores which is also helping increase her all-around scores. She has been individual event champion at State in 2018 and 2019.  She has also PR’ed several times for her highest all-around score throughout the season.”

Case dearly wanted a 2020 team and individual title but still accomplished plenty of things.

“I expect that she will see a lot of success in the post-season here,” Ankney said prior to the suspension of the state meet. “Morgan would love to be state champion both as a team and individually this year.  She knows it is a big dream, but she is going to go for it. She worked hard in the off season, and it has been very important for her. She wants her senior year to be her best and so far it has been.”

Morgan is team captain this year. She is a leader on the team, and she is an extremely hard worker.  Also, one of the other top all-arounders, Ashley Faulkner and Morgan, have competed together for years. They both push each other to be better and it is a constant competition between them to see who will win the all-around each meet.”