PLYMOUTH — Plymouth’s underclassmen stepped up to help give their seniors a present on Senior Day Saturday.
Freshman Cassi Quisell won the vault, floor and bars on her way to all-around top honors, while junior Traci Longanecker scored personal bests in all her events to win the beam and finish second in the vault, floor and in the all-around as the Lady Pilgrims beat both Lowell and Tippecanoe Valley in a three-way meet at home.
“I told the underclassmen before the meet the best thing you could give the seniors is a win. We didn’t win in a dual meet last year, we were 0-4 last year, and they came through,” said Plymouth head gymnastics coach Anthony McPherron.
“It is Senior Day today, and of course everybody’s got that emotion going to start the day. We had to kind of calm them down a little bit. I don’t normally talk to them before a meet, but I actually talked to them today and tried to calm them down and say ‘Hey, the meet’s first and then we’ll do Senior Day tonight.’ Traci Longanecker and Cassi (Quisell) really stepped up today. Traci won beam, and then Cassi is our freshman that won the other three events and the all-around as well. Traci, a personal record in every event today; this is the best meet she’s ever had and it couldn’t happen on a better day.”
Quissell scored an 8.3 on the bars, a 9.0 in the floor exercise, and 9.25 in the vault followed by Longanecker’s 8.4, while Longanecker won the beam with an 8.4 and finished second in the floor with a score of 8.5. Senior Maggie Morrow placed second on the bars with a 7.1 as the Pilgrims claimed the top three spots in the event after a tough finish on the bars without injured 2011 regional qualifier Nicky Davis at the Valpo Invite last weekend.
“We’ve had a really good week of practice this week on bars,” said McPherron. “We focused on bars because in the past it’s been our weakest event, and we’re turning it into one of our strong ones.”
Plymouth honored its three seniors in Morrow, who placed second in the bars and third in the all-around as well, Mandy McPherron, who finished with a 23.75 all-around score, and Stephani Rosas, who was sixth in the beam at the meet.
“Maggie is a four-year letterwinner, Mandy is a three-year letterwinner, and Steph will be a two-year letterwinner by the time we’re all done here,” McPherron said. “This is the first class that I’ve had all the way through, and they’ve become like my kids to me — one of them is my kid. Just their leadership is incredible. They get on the girls all the time if they’re not working. They keep them focused. They’ve been like assistant coaches to me over the years. I just couldn’t run this program without them.”
With its first dual win in two years, Plymouth will now take a week off before hosting West Noble next Monday.
“We’ve got all next week to get better still,” said McPherron. “We’ve got West Noble coming in a week from Monday night. We should win that one, too. If we don’t I’ll be upset. We’ve gotten better each meet so far other than that setback at Valpo with bars, so I’m real happy with where we’re at right now.”
• PLYMOUTH 97.5,
TIPPECANOE VALLEY 29.7
Vault: 1. Cassi Quissell (P)9.25, 2. Traci Longanecker (P)8.4
Bars: 1. Quissell (P)8.3, 2. Maggie Morrow (P)7.1
Beam: 1. Longanecker (P)8.4, 2. Quissell (P)8.1
Floor: 1. Quissell (P)9.0, 2. Longanecker (P)8.5
All-Around: 1. Quissell (P)34.65, 2. Longanecker (P)31.95
JV score: Plymouth 62.4, Lowell 37.1