Arundel and Quince Orchard gymnasts learned last night that every point -- even fractions of points -- can mean the difference between being a champion or an also-ran.
The teams went head-to-head last night at Annapolis High School in the Maryland State/Regional gymnastics meet and Arundel walked away with the overall team title by just .025 of a point.
For Wildcats coach Carol Nutt, it was her second gymnastics title, with the first coming in 1986. Nutt said the narrow victory was something she warns her team about repeatedly.
"Sometimes a girl is in the middle of routine in which nothing is going right," Nutt said. "I tell them to just keep going and try to finish strong because every fraction of a point counts.
"Maybe now they'll believe me."
During this meet each team used as many competitors as it wanted, but only the top four scores were used. As a team, Arundel finished fourth in the vault and floor exercise, third on the balance beam, and first on the uneven bars.
Arundel was led by Karen New-hard, who placed second in the all-around competition with 37.15 points, just behind Quince Orchard's Jamie Rosenthal, who won with 37.6 points.
Newhart finished in the top six in all four events including a first place in the vault with a score of 9.2.
The Wildcats also got contributions from team captain Debbie Chute who placed 14th, and Michelle Gagnier who placed 16th. Chute attributed the win to a fast start by her team.
"We came out and did great on floor exercise in our first event and I think that set a tone for us the rest of the meet," said Chute, while clutching the championship trophy.
"I just couldn't believe how close it was. I'm not letting go of this trophy."
With the final count being as close as it was, Nutt said that every girl on the team has a right to be proud of their accomplishment.
"This was a total team effort tonight," Nutt said. "No one on this team should feel like their performance didn't count, and that makes winning it even better."
Old Mill's Holly Firebaugh also had a good meet with a fifth-place finish in the all-around with 36.65 points.
Firebaugh also had a second-place finish in the balance beam. Karen Thompson of Annapolis also had a top-six finish, taking fifth place in the vault.