Newnan GymCats headed back to GHSA Championships on Friday


Success in any sport is all about consistency. Gymnastics may top the list, considering it’s one of the only at the championship level where judgement matters most.

For that reason, making a return trip to the Georgia High School Association State Championships is as much an accomplishment in itself.

Among this year’s six team finalists, four achieved that feat — including the Newnan GymCats.

Sophomores Sydney Goad, Elizabeth Hovey and Katie Shellnutt joined senior Alyssa Burnham in securing a return trip to Friday’s GHSA Championships at The Westminter School in Atlanta. 

The foursome combined to place fourth in last year’s finals, with both Goad and Shellnutt also placing in individual events. 

Defending state champion Tift County will again be the team to beat after leading last Saturday’s qualifier at Lovett with 110.15 points, led by standout Beth Roberts. 

Lambert and Lassiter, also making return trips to the GHSA Championships, were neck-and-neck while finishing second and third, respectively with total scores of 108.575 and 108.5.

The GymCats placed fourth with 107.525, ahead of newcomers Carrollton (107.45) and Buford (106.925) to complete the six team finalists.

Goad showcased her talents as a contender for the All-Around trophy while finishing third behind defending champ Roberts and Lambert’s Katie Stuart. 

Roberts had the top scores on vault, bars and beam — all at 9.8 or above — to lead competition with an All-Around score of 38.975. 

Both Goad and Stuart had top vaults of 9.7 with Goad ahead of the Lambert standout on beam (9.7) and floor (9.65) despite placing third. 

Goad’s lowest score came on bars, where she finished fifth at last year’s championships. Her 9.7 on beam was second to only Roberts’ 9.825 at the qualifier. 

Hovey just missed placing among the top-12 finalists while finishing with the 15th-best All-Around score of 35.425. She was led by a 9.1 on vault and a 9.0 on bars. 

Shellnutt, who was fourth on floor at the 2012 state meet, competed on vault, bars and beam at Saturday’s qualifier, scoring high marks on vault (9.05) and bars (8.6).  

Burnham was led by scores of 8.6 on floor and 8.5 on bars while scoring a 33.0 in the All-Around. 

SHIFFERT, HAUSER MEDAL AT AAU STATE MEET: Northgate junior Maggie Shiffert, who is enrolled as a sophomore at Clayton State, earned a victory in the 15-18 year-old vault for Prep Optional Two gymnasts at last weekend’s AAU State Gymnastics meet at the Cobb Civic Center.

Shiffert, who competes out of Newnan School of Gymnastics, scored a 9.45 to hold off Cierra Swiney of Milledgeville for first place. She had previously competed in just one varsity meet and one AAU meet prior to last weekend after spraining both elbows in a fall off the high bar in December. 

Teammate Connie Houser, who also attends Northgate and competes at NSG, placed third with a 9.3 in the event. 

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