Pendleton Heights Cassandra Zehr performs on the balance beam during the IHSAA Connersville sectional Saturday, Feb. 24.

CONNERSVILLE — Pendleton Heights High School gymnast Cassandra “Cassie” Zehr walked away as the all-around top winner at the Connersville sectional Saturday, Feb. 24.

Zehr, a junior, competed with gymnasts from 16 schools represented at sectional.

She came away with a pair of first-place finishes and was solid throughout the whole sectional.

She placed first in vault with a score of 9.3 and first in floor exercise with 9.325 points; she finished second in balance beam (9.0) and 12th in uneven bars (8.1).

Her performances combined earned her first place in all-around with 35.725 points.

Her score was just ahead of Grace Shanahan of New Palestine, who placed second with 35.700 points.

Zehr is coached by her mother, Melisa Zehr, who said both she and her daughter where somewhat surprised by her performance because she’s been recovering from an injury.

Zehr hurt her tailbone a few weeks ago. She was in some pain and hadn’t been able to practice much before sectional.

“We were quite shocked, but pleased,” her mother said.

Zehr’s 35.725 points were good enough, as the only Pendleton Heights gymnast competing, for a 13th place overall team finish.

Richmond won the team event with 102.425 points; Connersville placed second with 100.975 points, and New Castle finished third with 100.075 points.

Zehr is the sole Arabians gymnast. She has competed all season on the New Castle schedule but represents Pendleton Heights High School, which does not sponsor a gymnastics team.

Chad Smith, athletic director at Pendleton Heights, helps her get a schedule together each year.

“She’s had a really good year,” Smith said. “On top of that, she’s just a super young lady.”

Zehr advances to the Connerville regional, slated to start at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3. She will compete with gymnasts from the Connersville and Columbus East sectionals.

There are two other regional events scheduled this weekend, at Huntington North and Valparaiso.

Top performers from regional competition head to state finals, set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Worthen Arena, Ball State University, 1699 W. Bethel Avenue, Muncie.

At regional, those who advance to state include the top six place winners in each event; the top six place winners in the all-around competition; and gymnasts who receive the score of the sixth-place gymnast at the previous state finals meet (vault — 9.500; uneven bars — 9.550; balance beam — 9.225; floor exercise — 9.450; all-around — 37.325).

The top three teams compiling the highest number of points at each regional advance as complete teams to the state final.

Author photo
Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or