The Colquitt County High gymnastics team kicked its season off on the road competing in Macon on February 22.
Missing a few of members of the team due to academic responsibility and injury, the team had an amazing first meet.
The team scored an 86.95 placing fourth behind Camden County, which was first with a 98.95; John’s Creek, which was second scoring a 93.25; and Tift County, which placed third with an 89.4.
The host team Jones County placed fifth.
There was no disappointment in the team score.
The Lady Packers were missing some strong girls on three of the four events.
A new rule for this season is that a team must qualify for Area (the state qualifying meet) with a 96.00.
The Lady Packers were not far off from this with missing some team players. With a full team, Colquitt is expected to qualify.
Another new rule for this season is for an individual to qualify on each individual event with a one time score of 8.5 in any regular season meet and a one time score of 34.00 all around.
Sammie Phillips led the Lady Packers and qualified on vault with a 9.35, bars with an 8.5, and floor with an 8.6. She was shy .10 from qualifying on beam with an 8.4.
Phillips, who is a junior, scored an all around of 34.85. She is going to be very instrumental to this team this season.
“She is a great leader,” said Coach Patti Wier, adding that Phillips “works very hard and gives a 110 percent in practice and in competition.
She was second on vault, second on floor and fourth on beam. She also placed second all around behind Camden County’s Tierra Acoff with a 36.55.
“We will continue to see great things from Phillips this season as she helps lead the Lady Packers to area and hopefully State,” Wier said.
Freshman Evelyn Fagan had a wonderful first varsity meet. Wier said.
She qualified for Area on all events but bars. She scored a 9 on vault giving her third place. On bars she scored a 7.9 placing fifth; on beam an 8.5 placing third; and floor scoring an 8.6 placing fifth. She missed qualifying for all around by .10 scoring a 33.9.
Fagan’s talent and skills will be a huge asset to the team, Wier said.
She was the leader of the middle school team last year and that experience has prepared her for her varsity season this year.
“It’s exciting to see what all she will do for the team,” Wier said.
Junior Clara Gene Vines competed on vault, bars, and beam. Vines stepped up to help the team try and obtain a team score by competing bars and beam, two events that are not her strength.
After taking her sophomore year off, this was her first meet in over a year. Vines, who is also on the CCHS golf team, only has limited time in the gym.
In the gym, her main focus is vault. She placed fourth on vault with an 8.4. Vines is currently working to improve her difficulty on vault.
“This will be a huge help to the Lady Packers in their quest to make it to State,” Wier said, adding that Vines is a “wonderful team player. She will do anything that is asked her.”
Another junior, Jaycee Ellenberg, competed on vault for the first time, scoring an 8, after many years of being out the gym.
“I was proud to see how well she did with only a month practice,” Wier said.
Ellenberg will continue to work her vault and improve difficulty.
“She will also be a huge help to the team,” Wier said. “She works very hard.”
Missing out of the line-up was senior Meghan Merritt, who is continuing to battle an ankle injury.
“We hope to have her back soon, with the help of Marcus Wells and the staff of the Vereen Rehabilitation Center, to help in our team score and finish out her senior year strong,” Wier said.
Also missing was senior Ann Marie Vallothmail, and junior Allison Fagan, who had a prior academic commitment.
Freshman Timia Fowler, is recovering from a torn ACL knee injury.
Rounding out the lineup for this season are sophomores Emily Whidby and Aja McLeMore and freshmen Nea McLemore and Leah Grace Wiggins.
“The future is bright for the Lady Packers gymnastics team,” Wier said. “It is going to be a fun, exciting adventure this season. The unity this team has is wonderful.
“Each member brings their own strengths to the team.”