PLYMOUTH — Plymouth freshman Nicky Davis has already had an outstanding gymnastics season.
Along with a slew of all-around wins throughout the year, the PHS gymnast owns the school record in the vault with a 9.4 at Saturday’s Wawasee Sectional, also good enough for runner-up honors and the highest sectional finish by a Lady Pilgrim since 2007.
And her season isn’t over yet.
Davis scored an all-around tally of 35.30 Saturday, earning her fifth place overall and qualifying her for tonight’s Valparaiso Gymnastics Regional at 7 p.m. EST.
“It went a lot better than I expected,” said Davis of sectional. “I didn’t even expect to qualify for regionals. It went really good.
“This season has been so great. Our team is just so close, and we’re all doing really good. We all just did so much better than I expected, and I’m so excited.”
“For Nicky to come in as a freshman, never having competed at something like that before and to have the performance that she had Saturday — I was kind of blown away by how well she did, to be honest with you,” said PHS gymnastics coach Anthony McPherron. “She was extremely nervous all last week, you could tell. She’s still nervous this week too for regional, but last week you could just see her shaking at practice at times, and we had to tell her to calm down. She still had all her teammates with her last week and they all kind of rallied around each other and we had a lot of girls set personal records at sectional.”
Davis’ best chances to advance to next Saturday’s state finals at Ball State’s Worthen Arena are undeniably in the vault, where she has set and rebroken Plymouth’s record multiple times this season, but don’t count Davis out of one of the top six spots in the all-around, either.
It’s a challenging regional field with three top five-ranked teams in No. 2 Valparaiso, No. 3 Chesterton and No. 4 LaPorte, all of whom advanced out of last weekend’s Chesterton Sectional. But just for reference, the last time Davis faced off against individual Chesterton Sectional all-around champion Abaigale Light of LaPorte, she finished just .1 of a point behind Light.
“I’ve told her this week she’s got a shot to move on in vault this week,” said McPherron. “She’s got a shot in every event, but that’s her best event, her best chance to move on this week.”
“She’s good enough in everything,” he added. “The girl that won the Chesterton Sectional is a girl named Abby Light from LaPorte. We’ve competed against Abby a couple times — she’s a great kid; I’ve known her for awhile and I’ve known her coach of course very well too — but when we competed against LaPorte here in a home meet, she beat Nicky by one-tenth of a point in the all-around. Nicky went to-to-toe with her that night here, and she’s got a shot in everything.”
While Davis may have advanced alone to tonight’s tourney, she’ll be accompanied by her teammates. That should help ease the freshman’s nerves in her first regional competition.
“I’m really glad that my whole team is going to be there for me,” said Davis. “It’s really exciting.
“I’m just going to have fun, and do my best, and whatever happens, happens. If I don’t move on, there’s always three more years.”
It’s also a chance for Plymouth’s freshman-dominated squad — all but one of whom are expected to return next season — to get a taste of regional experience along with Davis.
“Even though the other girls aren’t going to be competing tomorrow night, it’s good to get in that environment,” McPherron said. “They are nuts about gymnastics over in that part of the state because Valpo and Chesterton have been the state champions off and on for the last 15 or 16 years. We’ll walk into a normal meet, and we might have 50 people. We walk into a big invitational, we might have 150 to 200, depending on how many schools are there. There’ll be four or five thousand people there tomorrow night watching this gymnastics meet... and its kind of intimidating if you haven’t been there before, so for the younger girls who aren’t competing this year to go there and support Nicky — it’ll help Nicky number one, it’s always good to have a friendly face, but then it’s also good because next year when we’ve got everybody back and we’ve got some of these new girls coming in, I think we have a shot not only of qualifying for regional but winning sectional.”