By: Brian Dulik
Obtained From: Medina Gazette
The tears began flowing as soon as Alexx Sikora stepped off the spring floor. She was overwhelmed by sadness, knowing her career as a competitive gymnast was over, but also felt joy because she went out at the top of her game. Both were appropriate emotions as the Brunswick senior wrote a storybook ending Saturday at the state gymnastics meet. Sikora finished ninth on the balance beam and 12th in the floor exercise — earning All-Ohio honors in her initial appearance at the event — in front of a capacity crowd at Hilliard Bradley High.
“Just being here was amazing, I’m really happy about everything,” she said while exchanging hugs with teammates. “It was hard finishing on the floor, which has always been my favorite, but it also was fun. I gave it everything I had because I wanted my final memory to be a great one.” Sikora scored a 9.075 on the beam and a 9.125 on the floor, becoming the first Medina County gymnast to post multiple 9s in her state debut since Cloverleaf’s Ashley Rose in 2009. Her top-10 placement in the former made her Brunswick’s first All-Ohioan since Jen Bruce eight years earlier. Making those mistake-free performances more impressive, Sikora was less than 24 hours removed from competing in the all-around at the state team meet. The Blue Devils’ squad finished fourth, which was the third-best showing by a county team this century. “Alexx was prepared, both mentally and physically, to be here,” Brunswick coach Jamie Woelfl said.
“She rose to the occasion both days and went out with class.” Blue Devils freshman Hannah Burk, Brunswick junior Jessica Froncek and Medina freshman Lauren Romano joined Sikora as first-time state qualifiers. Burk finished 12th on the uneven parallel bars with a clean, quick routine that earned an 8.9. She stuck her landing and was praised by competitors from other schools, but was hurt by being in the first rotation of the day, when scores are notoriously low. “I wanted to get the handstand, but outside of that, I thought it went well,” said Burk, who fell 0.025 short of All-Ohio status. “I loved the whole weekend, especially being able to hang out with the team. It was exciting getting to state as a freshman, and I’m so proud of being part of this team.”
Froncek arrived at the meet expecting to compete on the bars and vault, which she did. She subsequently was added to the all-around field as the first alternate out of the West Geauga District when Orrville senior Jessica Eby sprained both ankles in a fluke accident in the adjacent auxiliary gymnasium. The rookie wound up 31st in the all-around with a 32.975, 33rd on the vault with an 8.525 and 37th on the bars with a 6.15. “I didn’t hit all my routines as I would have liked, but I will remember how supportive the coaches and the whole team was,” Froncek said. “The whole meet in general was a lot of fun and a great experience.” In between competing on the bars and vault, Froncek notched matching 9.15s on the beam and floor as part of the all-around. “Jessica’s lack of experience with high school gymnastics got to her and she buckled,” Woelfl said. “She learned, though, and still has next year.”
Romano was the first ninth-grader to compete for the Bees at state since Samantha Borrelli in 2012. She placed 22nd on the beam with an 8.5, wobbling and falling late in her routine. Though Medina coach Darcy Ranallo was satisfied with the showing, Romano expressed disappointment with her finish. “I was just ‘off’ and have been for a while, but I gave it my best shot,” the West Geauga Sectional beam cochampion said. “I liked everything about being here. Most of my team came out to support me and Darcy is an amazing coach, so that was great. Now, I know what to expect as I try to make it back next season.”