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GYMNASTICS: Zimmerman just misses state a second straight year

Mar. 7—Logansport sophomore Rylee Zimmerman had a second straight close call at almost making the IHSAA Gymnastics State Finals.

Zimmerman missed automatically qualifying to state on the balance beam by a mere 0.025 of a point at Saturday's Valparaiso Regional.

"I'm pretty excited that I made it that far. I definitely put in a lot of hard work this season but not making it to state is only going to make me work harder next season," Zimmerman said.

She said she didn't perform one of her best beam routines at the regional.

"This meet my nerves got to me and I wobbled on a lot of skills that I don't normally wobble on," she said. "The pressure got to me a little bit."

She placed ninth on beam with a 9.2. She also placed ninth on bars with an 8.8, missing state by 0.2 of a point in that event.

The Valparaiso Regional is known as the most difficult of the three regionals in the state.

"Competing against the best teams in the state makes you want to work harder and get your skills up," Zimmerman said. "It's definitely nerve-racking competing against them but it's cool to see all the skills they have too."

Zimmerman was the NCC all-around champion last year as a freshman. She finished runner-up at this year's event with a personal-best score of 35.85, finishing just behind Harrison senior Micah Wright.

"This year I definitely had a good meet," she said. "The girl from Harrison, she didn't have her best meet from last year so I think that kind of helped me win. But she's definitely improved this year too."

Zimmerman just missed advancing to state on bars last year by 0.125 of a point at the Valparaiso Regional. She was invited to provide a base score and did get to compete at state in that capacity.

With back-to-back close calls, she plans to put more work in in the gym this summer.

"This summer I plan on getting in a club gym and working with them to improve my skill level," she said. "I did go in a month prior to our regular season but not the whole summer."

She has aspirations of competing in state in the all-around.

"That's definitely a goal of mine is to make it to state in the all-around," she said.

The Berries had a small team this year with just four gymnasts. The team consisted of sophomore Zimmerman, senior Jaelyn Benish and freshmen Lucy Gordon and Amilia Zaragoza.

"This year we had a really good team. We were all close," Zimmerman said. "Honestly having a close team really affects your mental state and being in gymnastics mentally is really important. So having a close team really helps improve our performance."

The fifth member of the team of sorts was Caston senior Alexa Finke, who often practiced with and competed at meets alongside the Berries. Finke was also a starter on the Lady Comets' semistate girls basketball team this winter.

"We definitely consider her a part of the team," Zimmerman said. "It was really fun having her with us."

Zimmerman is a member of the Logansport girls tennis team this spring.