She’s gifted: For her birth­day, Wrighte wins all-around ti­tle

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - BY ABBY MERGENMEIER abby.mergenmeier@wash­post.com

Free­dom-South Rid­ing ju­nior Syd­ney Wrighte wore the same de­ter­mined look dur­ing Satur­day’s Vir­ginia High School League state in­di­vid­ual open championship as she wore at the 5A North re­gion and state team meets. Yet some­thing was dif­fer­ent — the black tape that had striped her up­per back was gone.

“I felt re­ally con­stricted by it, in a way,” Wrighte said.

Early in the sea­son, Wrighte fell off the un­even bars, re­sult­ing in a se­ri­ous case of whiplash and a her­ni­ated disc. Three to four months of rest and phys­i­cal ther­apy helped her re­cover phys­i­cally, but the un­even bars still slightly scared her, she said be­fore Satur­day’s meet at Pa­triot High.

Wrighte, the reign­ing All-Met Gym­nast of the Year, ap­plied chalk to her hands as Christina Bap­ple of North Stafford fin­ished her bars rou­tine with one soft thud on the mat that caused those around the ap­pa­ra­tus to burst into cheers. Bap­ple scored a 9.8, a tough score to beat.

“Hon­estly, I didn’t watch any­body be­fore me on pur­pose,” Wrighte said. “So I didn’t know what any­body got or how they did.”

Wrighte stuck her dis­mount and also tal­lied a 9.8, ty­ing Bap­ple for first.

That score helped Wrighte de­fend her all-around ti­tle, which Wrighte said was a great 17th birth­day gift.

The state cham­pi­onships are sched­uled close to her birth­day ev­ery year, she said. She scored a to­tal of 38.975 points and placed first on beam (9.775), was part of a three-way tie for first on the floor (9.6) and was run­ner-up on vault (9.8) to Kel­lam’s Emily Ware (9.825).

Sa­man­tha Si­mon of McLean was sec­ond in the all-around (37.975), Jen­nah Chang of Stafford took third (37.9), and Kameryn Shears placed fourth (37.825).

McLean had a strong show­ing in the in­di­vid­ual open meet. Af­ter win­ning the 6A state team championship on Fri­day with a meet-high 146.575 points, it was no sur­prise that the High­landers had five girls vy­ing for in­di­vid­ual ti­tles.

“They did awe­some. They’re a great team. They were ready for re­gion­als, ready to qual­ify in­di­vid­u­ally along with mak­ing it as a team,” McLean Coach Court­ney Les­son said. “They have a great work ethic, and it re­ally showed.”

Si­mon tal­lied the high­est scores for the High­landers. She tied for first with Wrighte and Robin­son’s Cather­ine Reynolds on floor, came in third on the bal­ance beam (9.575) and placed fifth on the un­even bars (9.275).

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