Farmington United gymnastics coach Jeff Dwyer thought his team had about a two-tenths lead at the 2019 state finals headed into its third event, vault. On the line was not only the team’s second-straight team title but an undefeated season.

United responded to the pressure, scoring 37.7 on vault and then hanging on during the uneven bars to claim the 2019 team crown and Farmington Public Schools’ sixth gymnastics team title.

“They’re great athletes,” Dwyer said about his team. “I’m really happy and proud of these kids.”

United, a combined team of Farmington, North Farmington and Farmington Harrison, was considered the best team in the state wire-to-wire this season, presenting a unique challenge.

“It was a grind,” Dwyer said about the season. It’s harder going into the season being the number one team and then having to carry it out. They’re a tough group of kids to do that. Some of the girls were left over from last season but not all of them. It’s a unique blend of characters. I give the girls a ton of credit.”

Competing for United were junior Elena Vargo, sophomores Sydney Schultz and Allison Schultz, and seniors Kacey Noseworthy, Shelby Smith and Ava Farquhar.

Vargo, a Division 1 individual title contender, scored a season-high 9.8 on vault.

“She’s a stud,” Dwyer said about Vargo. “She’s exceptionally talented. Her vault was the turning point. We had her go first and she scores the 9.8 — unbelievable. Her layout was great. She’s got the only vault with a starting value of 10.0, and that’s the best I’ve seen her do it all season.”

United’s seniors have the distinction of never having lost a dual meet in their entire careers.

“The seniors brought so much character to this team,” Dwyer said. “The best way I can put it is if you were going to pick teams for baseball as a kid, you just knew who the gamers were. That’s how I look at these girls. They’re so tough. Their last two years, their goal was to win states both years, and they did.”

The title is Dwyer’s fifth state championship, but he gave credit to his assistant coaching staff.

“I’m kind of shell shocked. When we won it those first three years (2004, 2005 and 2006), we were loaded and then this last year (2018) we won by two-tenths and that was a really emotional win because that team didn’t just inherit a bunch of great girls. This year was more of a grind because we were number one from start to finish. You never assume you’re going to end up with five state championships as a coach. I’ve got really good assistant coaches, girls that were state champions in their careers. Everything works when you get that right blend of character and attitude together.” 

Final standings

1. Farmington -- 145.55

2. Rockford -- 144.25

3. Plymouth -- 142.025

4. Fowlerville -- 141.925

5. Livonia Blue -- 141.875

6. Northville -- 141.2

7. Howell -- 139.45

8. Linden -- 139.1

9. Hartland -- 138.6

10. Grosse Pointe -- 138.4

Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer