Farmington gymnasts have another stellar outing at Canton meet
Farmington United, competing in its first meet since losing star gymnast Elisa Bills to injury, showed it still has the fabric of a champion.
The United squad won the prestigious Canton Invitational on Jan. 31 with 141.375 points. Northville (140.475), Livonia Blue (140.400) and Rockford (140.300) were close behind, while Salem was a distant fifth (138.765 points).
The victory in the 17-team field certainly impressed longtime Farmington United head coach Jeff Dwyer.
“I was impressed with the team. I was hoping for a top five finish,” said Dwyer, in his 32nd season as head coach. “This was really a surprise. I got home that night and I was just thinking it was a great win. I didn’t expect it. I was expecting to be up there, but I wasn’t expecting to win it.
“It’s tough competing without Elisa, who was a state champion last year,” he added. “I just told my team we have to keep rowing the boat — and they did. The season still has to continue. We just have to march on and see what we can do.”
Depth keys big triumph
United’s depth proved the difference as senior Emily Stecevic, juniors Kacey Noseworthy, Ava Farquhar and Shelby Smith, sophomore Lily Tyler and freshman Allison Schultz all produced valuable points.
Noseworthy won the all-around competition with a score of 35.95 and Stecevic was third all-around at 35.625. Farquhar also made the top 10 all-around by scoring 34.925, good for ninth place.
Noseworthy was second off the vault (9.25) and on bars (8.8), tied for fourth on floor (9.25) and 15th on the balance beam (8.65). Stecevic tied for sixth on the bars (8.625), tied for seventh off the vault (8.875), was eighth on the beam (8.875) and tied Noseworthy for fourth on the floor.
Farquhar’s top two performances were on bars (8.5) and balance beam (8.825); she placed 10th in both. Smith tied for sixth on bars (8.625), Tyler tied for 12th off the vault (8.775) and Schultz was 14th on the uneven bars (8.4) for their best showings.
“For us to do what we did, all the girls had to hit and they all hit,” Dwyer said. “We had a pretty solid meet. It was almost like they were going through practice routines, they were just doing what they do.
“Shelby is in these big meets now and is learning how to perform under pressure and she is handling it. She had a really solid meet and kudos to her. The all-around finishes by Kacey, Emily and Ava were huge.
“Lily Tyler was able to get a good score on the vault and I give a lot of credit to Allison Schultz, who was in three events as a freshman,” he added. “It was a great experience for her and she did a really good job.”
‘Have to keep going’
The Canton Invite marked the second time this season that Farmington United got the best of Northville. Dwyer knows his team must keep improving, because it will face another tough challenge from the Mustangs at the fast-approaching state regional tournament, set for March 3 at Walled Lake Central.
“Northville is really a good team and they moved into our regional this year,” said Dwyer, who hopes to have Bills back for the regional. “I think whatever team has a better overall day, they are going to win it. It’s going to be a tough one. I think we are two equal teams, actually.
“I’m just happy with this team. It seems like they like competing and they stay loose. I have a good team. Even the girls who aren’t competing are really good at firing the other girls up and that really helps to have a bunch of teammates cheering for them.
“But like I told the girls, they’re only as good as their last meet, so they have to keep going,” he added. “There are a lot of good teams out there.”
Contact Marty Budner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MartyBudner