By Josh Brown
TROY — All season long, the Troy gymnastics team has had one goal — qualify for the state meet.
Now that the time is finally here to make that a reality, reactions are … understandably varied.
“Between the 14 girls on the team, you see a little bit of everything,” Troy coach Larry McCoppin said. “Some of the girls are feeling stressed, some are excited that the chance is finally here, some are nervous, wondering if they’re ready. Honestly, I think it adds to the team, all the different ways the girls are reacting.”
Especially since one thing is uniform across the board — the Trojans all have each other’s backs.
“Oh, absolutely,” McCoppin said. “They’re always cheering for each other, rooting for each other to be successful — which is good, because they’ll actually be competing against each other individually to get to state. But that doesn’t matter to them. They all want to see their teammates succeed.”
Saturday, the Trojan gymnastics team will compete at the district tournament at Lakota East High School, with only the top two teams qualifying for next weekend’s state meet at Hilliard Bradley High School. In addition, the top six individuals in each event will advance to the state meet, as well, with the team competition on March 4 and the individual on March 5.
And as loaded as the Trojans are, they’re looking to be busy the entire weekend.
“On Friday, the top 12 teams in the state will compete,” McCoppin said. “Saturday is the individual competition. We have several girls that have chances to qualify in every event, so they’ll be competing against each other and everyone else. It’s going to be a tight competition. But the girls have been doing a great job of thinking about the team first. They’ve made sacrifices, changed events if we, say, needed to have someone else in the bars and move them to beam, and it’s been great.
“So there could be several girls competing in eight events over the course of two days. It’ll be a tough weekend.”
First things first, though.
The Trojans have defeated every team they’ll face at Saturday’s district meet head-to-head already this season, giving them plenty of confidence heading into the meet. In fact, there’s only one meet this year that Troy didn’t win outright.
“The first meet of the year, we took second. But we were missing four girls,” McCoppin said. “Ever since, we’ve gone undefeated. Just this weekend, we won a big one at the Dayton City Championships. It’s been pretty neat.”
And thanks to all of that success, the Trojans have been reassessing their goals heading into the district meet.
“The tone of our practices has been that we should make it to state as a team,” McCoppin said. “Really, it’s not something we’ve needed to talk about. Because the top six individuals make it in each event, the drive is already there for everyone to perform.
“The girls have bigger goals now. At the start of the year, the goal was to make it to state. Now the goal is to place at state. It’s been neat to see them set the bar even higher and shooting higher as the season has progressed.”
Because, while everyone may be reacting differently to the team’s moment finally arriving, the Trojans are all ready to share in it together.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.