Alpharetta rolls in state gymnastics qualifying meet

Alpharetta staked its claim as the favorite for the 2011 state gymnastics championship with a dominating performance in last week’s state qualifying meet at Lovett. This season, 49 schools fielded gymnastics squads. The top six teams overall and top 12 individuals in each event at the state qualifier earned spots in the state championship April 29 at Westminster. Behind Alpharetta were Walton (last season’s runner-up), Westminster, Milton, Tift County and Kell.

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Alpharetta won the state qualifying meet by nearly four points (110.425 – 107.7) over second-place Walton, a blowout by gymnastics standards. The Raiders were led by Kelsey Kopec, who swept all four individual events (vault, bars, beam and floor exercise) and was the all-around champion as well. Other top performers were Alisha Rancone (Pope), Sarah Parkey (Alpharetta), Angela Stein (Walton), Candace Walton (Lassiter), Meghan Merritt (Colquitt), Kimberlyn Wilson (Jones County), Emily Sanders (Walton), Natalie Bauer (Walton), Sam Dance (Centennial), Abby Bergeron (Tift County) and Sarah Grady (Westminster).

All first-round matches of the state playoffs will be completed by the end of the weekend, weather permitting, but some of the state's top teams have already advanced to the second round. In Class AAAAA on the boys side, Walton, Alpharetta, Northview and Westlake have all advanced. Peachtree Ridge, the Region 7 champion, was upset (3-2) by Lassiter, the No. 4 seed from Region 5. In Class AAAA, Johns Creek, undefeated McIntosh (16-0) and Pope advanced. Rockdale County, a No. 2 seed, was upset (3-1) by Lakeside-DeKalb, a No. 3 seed. In Class AAA, Woodward Academy, Carrollton, LaGrange and undefeated Americus-Sumter (16-0) will move on. In Class AA, Westminster, Blessed Trinity and Lovett have advanced. Region 8 champion North Oconee was upset by Greater Atlanta Christian, the No. 4 seed from Region 6. In Class A, Whitefield Academy (16-0) stayed perfect and Brookstone, Walker and Wesleyan advanced as well. ...

In girls competition, in Class A, Mt. Pisgah Christian (16-0) remained undefeated and Brookstone, Pace and Weslyan, which upset Region 9 champion Whitefield Academy (3-0), will move on to the second round. In Class AA, Blessed Trinity, undefeated Calhoun (17-0) and Screven County advanced. In Class AAA, Woodward Academy, St. Pius and Oconee County all won their first-round matches impressively. In Class AAAA, Marist, Lambert and Pope will advance, while Flowery Branch, the No. 2 seed from Region 8, fell to Dunwoody (3-1), the No. 3 seed from Region 6. In Class AAAAA, Walton, Peachtree Ridge and Valdosta advanced. Etowah, the No. 2 seed from Region 5, was upset by Norcross, the No. 3 seed from Region 7.

This year's state championship matches are scheduled May 2 at 10 different courses throughout Georgia: Class AAAAA boys at Summit Chase Country Club in Snellville, girls at Monroe Golf and Country Club in Monroe; Class AAAA boys at Maple Ridge Golf Club in Columbus, girls at the Country Club of Columbus; Class AAA boys Chattahoochee Golf Course in Gainesville, girls at Chestatee Golf Club in Dawsonville; Class AA boys at The Creek at Hard Labor Park in Rutledge, girls at Long Shadow Golf Course in Madison; Class A boys at Green Island Golf Club in Columbus, girls at Bull Creek Golf Club (East Course) in Columbus. Region qualifying matches will wrap up Monday. The top two teams in each region will advance to state.