Contenders stack championship field following last year’s cancellation

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The 2021 GHSA gymnastics championships will be held at Buford Arena Thursday through Saturday for the first time and will crown the state’s next round of champions following last spring’s cancellation. In 2019, the sport introduced a separate Class 6A-7A and Class A-5A division for the first time and crowned two separate team champions. The West Forsyth Wolverines captured the Class 6A-7A title—which gave the program its third-straight team championship and North Oconee won the Class A-5A state crown.

The latest team rankings have been tallied over the last week and offer a glimpse at this year’s strongest contenders. Newnan’s 113.313 gives the Cougars the highest overall score out of any division with Carrollton (110.625), Walton (109.475), Alpharetta (108.050), Buford (107.600), and Cambridge (106.925) all outscoring the three-time defending state champion West Forsyth Wolverines (105.200).

There have been some other teams making noise out of the Forsyth area, including Denmark. The Danes have only been around for three years as a school and missed out on an opportunity to make a statement last year after the season was cancelled. This year, however, the young Denmark program is racking up historic results. In March, the Danes successfully won the Forsyth County championship for the first time. Denmark (106.450) finished ahead of host South Forsyth (105.850), which edged 2019 county and state champion West Forsyth (105.550) by a mere three tenths of a point.

Emma Davies had a phenomenal performance to lead the Danes. She placed first on the floor (9.750) and also finished first in vault (9.900) and bars (9.600), while winning the all-around title and helping Denmark capture the county championship for the first time in the school’s three-year history. The Danes also received a strong performance from Sarah Portanka, who had the third-best performance on the vault with a 9.400. Davies, a University of Pennsylvania signee, was nearly perfect on the vault with her 9.900 score and performed well on the balance beam with a score of 9.450, the second-highest in the event.

Lambert senior Shreya Munshi also had a solid showing, finishing second in vault (9.600) and floor (9.400), adding a third-place score on the beam (9.400) and a score of 8.650 on bars to finish second in all-around (37.050). Forsyth Central sophomore Avery Weis placed third in all-around, impressing in the vault (9.000) and bars (8.900), and adding an 8.700 with her floor routine and 8.300 on the beam to edge teammate Lydia Kimsey. Watching the Forsyth County powerhouses square off will be one of the biggest storylines to watch for in the loaded Class 6A-7A field.

Down in Class A-5A, defending state champion North Oconee leads the final rankings sizeably with a 112.150 score to second-place Oconee County’s 104.350. Additionally, Westminster, Pace Academy, Villa Rica and Northgate have also crossed the 100.00 threshold in the latest poll.

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