Zehr all-around champ at Shelbyville

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SHELBYVILLE — Pendleton Heights sophomore Cassie Zehr is at the halfway point of her season, and she aspires to advance to the state gymnastics meet later in the season.

After standing taller than she had ever stood before at her latest competition, she has plenty of confidence to continue moving toward her goals.

With wins on the beam and the vault and runner-up finishes on the bars and the floor exercise, Zehr, the lone Arabian gymnast, left the meet in Shelbyville with the first all-around championship of her high school career.

Zehr,  came to her last apparatus, the beam, needing an 8.775 to match the all-around score posted by New Castle senior Kierstyn Cochran, who had fallen on the beam, resulting in an automatic half-point deduction. Zehr was near flawless and scored an 8.85 to wrap up a surprising all-around title with a total score of 33.725, edging Cochran by .075.

During awards, Zehr was surprised to hear her name called as the all-around champ.

“I wasn’t really expecting it,” she said. “I didn’t even know that it had happened. But, I’m really happy.”

The evening did not start out in ideal fashion for Zehr, who rides to meets with her family and not on a team bus. She and her parents were not as early as she normally likes and went to the wrong location, creating a bit of chaos to start her night. Once she arrived at the site, Girls Inc., in Shelbyville, Zehr got back on track quickly.

“I like to get here early to warm up,” she said. “It stressed me out at the beginning, but I was able to calm down and get focused. Just being at the meet, I knew I needed to focus.”

Zehr, who already exudes confidence as she gracefully runs through her beam routine, said this performance gives her more reason to think she can advance beyond regional this season.

“On beam, it gives me a lot more confidence,” she said. “If I make it to state this year, it will probably be the beam. Maybe the vault, too, but I want to make it on beam this year. That’s my favorite.”

Zehr has just two competitions remaining in the season before sectionals start. She will be at Roncalli High School on Feb. 4 and will close the season at New Castle against Jay County and Muncie Central.