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Hammond finishes sixth at region meet Gymnastics


With Jesse Whyte leading the way as all-around champion, Severna Park's boys gymnastics team claimed the Region IV meet team title at Old Mill yesterday.

Five Howard County teams competed, with Hammond finishing sixth in the team competition and Jimmy Voland of Glenelg finishing fourth in the floor exercise.

Voland was the Gladiators' only competitor, and he turned in a score of 7.4. His tumbling routine appeared to be as strong as any in the field, and he was a little disappointed in the scoring.

"I really thought I deserved better," Voland said. "I was very happy with my routine, and my coach said it was the best one I had ever done. It was nice to be able to come away with something, though."

Hammond's team cracked the top six, thanks to a strong performance by Brian Crawford.

He finished in the top 20 in four of the six events, including a sixth in the vault.

Wilde Lake's Chad Tidgewell recorded the best all-around finish for a Howard County competitor. He came in 12th with a total score of 25.8.

Tidgewell finished in the top 10 in the vault and floor exercise.

Severna Park outdistanced second-place Old Mill by 6.2 points to take the title and get coach Bonnie Habicht her first title.

"I'm so proud of these kids right now," she said. "They all worked together, and I think our depth was really what did it for us."

The Falcons benefited from several strong performances, notably Ben Jones' third-place finish in the vault and floor exercise and sixth in the parallel bars and Jamie Kuch's fourth in the parallel bars and tie for third in the pommel horse.

But the star was undeniably Whyte.

He finished first or second in every event but the vault, including firsts in the floor exercise and parallel bars.

Todd Keyser of Broadneck gave Whyte all he could handle, finishing just 0.7 of a point behind Whyte. But Whyte's strong finish was enough to get him the title.

Whyte's road was not easy.

Keyser won the horse and high bar. He did not place in the vault, but the gauntlet had been thrown down.

Whyte kept pace, taking second in the horse and tying for second in the high bar.

He was also up to the task in the last three events, winning the parallel bars and floor exercise and placing second in the rings.

Whyte said after the meet that the order of events favored him.

"I was glad to see my strong events in the second half of the meet," Whyte said.

"Knowing that I was going to have to come back to win just fueled my fire. I also knew we were close in the team competition, and knowing that my teammates were counting on me helped even more."

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