Alpharetta’s Kelsey Kopec added to her legacy as one of the state’s all-time best in high school gymnastics.
The junior was crowned the all-around champion for the second year in a year at Friday’s state meet, winning three out of four individual events.
“Kelsey is creating quite a legacy for herself in Georgia gymnastics,” Alpharetta assistant Michelle Drehoff said. “It’s tough to go in there and defend your title. There’s all the pressure and all the eyes on you. She kept her focus and did what she needed to do.”
Tift County won the team championship with a score of 109.95, narrowly edging out Alpharetta (109.75). Walton finished third, followed by Westminster, Milton and Kell.
“We are so excited about taking home a state championship,” Tift County coach Jodi Roberts said. “The key was that our girls were so confident. We had a lot of fun and did what we needed to do to win it.
“We only focused on our efforts, and didn’t worry about the other teams. It was shocking when we saw [the final results], to say the least. We were excited, happy and elated.”
It was heartbreaking for Alpharetta, which had been undefeated in team competition until Friday’s meet at Westminster School.
“When you look how close it was for the team competition, that’s tough to swallow,” Drehoff said. “I’m still very proud of the girls, though. They all went out there and did the best they could.
“This was the first Alpharetta team that qualified for state, and we brought home second place. That was pretty awesome.”
Kopec won the all-around competition at 38.05, followed by Walton’s Angela Stein (37.325) and Pope’s Alisha Rancone (37.15).
“It feels great; there were a ton of good girls who threw great routines all night — it was really anybody’s game,” Kopec said. “So many girls threw different stuff and had big scores as well. But I guess when it all came together, consistency in all the events is key.”
Kopec had more than consistency. She won individual state championships in the vault, bars, and beam. She finished fifth in the floor, which was won by Colquitt County’s Meghan Merritt.
“I don’t know, it’s hard to believe,” Kopec said of her performance. “I guess all my hard work in the gym paid off, five days per week, 20 hours per week.
“Anybody could’ve won and I would’ve been happy for any of them. It feels great to go out there and do it again, especially this year with all of my teammates there with me.”