Farmington captures state gymnastics championship

Eric Coughlin
The Detroit News

It came down to the final event at Rockford High School, but Farmington held on to win the state gymnastics team crown on Friday with a total score of 144.75, narrowly edging out Northville which finished at 144.55.

Farmington coach Jeff Dwyer was thrilled with his team’s performance after it finiahed fourth at last season’s final.

“This was one of the hardest things we’ve accomplished,” he said. “We’ve been on the losing end of things, and this time, things just worked out. I think we counted one fall the entire meet, and that’s what it takes.”

Dwyer stressed that it was a team performance, but praised seniors, Elisa Bills and Emily Stecevic.

“The kid’s just flat-out talented,” Dwyer said about Bills, the all-around champion at regionals last week. “A kid like that usually thinks about themselves, but she doesn’t. She didn’t want it for herself — she wanted it for the team.”

Stecevic was last year’s sixth-place all-around finisher in Division 2.

“Emily (Stecevic) is happy-go-lucky but a real tough athlete,” Dwyer said. “She has a calming effect on the team. What a way to go out for her.”

Farmington had a slim win in its regional, but it picked up wins at several big invitationals that included most of the top teams in the state. It led to a battle-tested team that knew its job.

“We (the Farmington coaching staff) didn’t have to do a lot of coaching,” Dwyer said. “The girls were on a mission. The energy level was way up. They’ve had their game faces on for the last two meets. This was their goal, and I’m so happy for them. They shot for the stars, and they landed in them.”

Northville finished second in several invitationals this year, but coach Victoria Clay was very pleased with another second place performance at states, a marked improvement from ninth-place last year.

“We are pumped about it, super-excited,” Clay said. “We started off strong with bars, our first event and left it all on the mat from there.”

Northville won the uneven parallel bars and held on during its last rotation, vault, to secure second with Rockford, which finished a tenth of a point behind Northville for third place, hot on its heels.

Freshman Sarah Gallager scored a 9.075, and senior captain Erin McCallum scored 9.475 to secure second-place for Northville.

“She (McCallum) has given us four great great years, not only as a gymnast but as a leader. She’ll leave behind a great legacy,” Clay said.

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.

Final standings

1. Farmington -- 144.75

2.  Northville -- 144.55

3. Rockford -- 144.45

4. Livonia Blue --142.65

5. Brighton --142.575

6. Plymouth --141.35

7. Howell --140.125

8. Huron Valley -- 139.675

9. Plymouth Salem --139.65

10. Linden -- 139.375