B-CC gymnast wins all four Montgomery County championship events, all-around title -- Gazette.Net


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As Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School senior gymnast Julia Konner ran from the bleachers to receive her gold medal for the floor event, she had to hold her other three gold medals hanging around her neck to keep them from clanking together.

When Walter Johnson co-coach Erika Aguilar announced the all-round placers next, she didn't even go past, “In first place, from B-CC,” before holding the microphone to the crowd, which shouted “Julia Konner.”

There wasn't much suspense during Tuesday's Montgomery County gymnastics championships for Konner, who won all four events (bars, beam, floor and vault) or Bethesda-Chevy Chase, which won its second straight county title and fifth in six years.

The real surprise came afterward when B-CC coach Dana Creager told her gymnasts she was stepping down after 13 seasons. Creager, who plans to focus more on coaching rugby, said she made the decision previously but intentionally delayed her announcement.

“The focus should be on the meet, on their skill, on their routines — not on me or anything like that,” Creager said. “I want them to focus, and I don't want to put any pressure on them because this is my last meet. It's great to see them compete the way they do. They just have so much heart.”

Afterward, Konner was happy to focus on Creager, whom the gymnast called a “great coach.”

“She just really pushes everyone,” Konner said. “She knows everyone's abilities, and if they're not up to that potential, if they're not doing these skills that she knows they can do, then she'll be like, 'You need to do this.' She's also always telling us to be positive and work together as a team, which I think is probably the most important thing about this sport.”

Creager was visibly encouraging to all her athletes as they competed, though less so with Konner. That's because Konner injured her ankle on vault late in the season, and the coach couldn't hide her nerves while Konner competed, especially because Konner leaves Friday for Minneapolis for Level 10 Nationals.

But Konner's ankle held up just fine, and she even said her personal highlight of the meet was her vault.

“Once I get out on the floor, the adrenaline goes, and I don't really feel it,” Konner said.

Walter Johnson's Grace Leslau finished second in the all-around, helping her team also finish second. After quitting her club team last, Leslau was a little rusty entering the high school season.

“She's worked so hard,” Walter Johnson co-coach Ursula Bright said. “I'm absolutely proud of her.”

Bethesda-Chevy Chase's Julia Kaplan finished third in the all-around to help the team repeat as county champions, and Konner was much more eager to talk about team success in a post-meet interview — at least in her second attempt post-meet interview.

The first try ended after one question, once Konner noticed her teammates posing for a picture.

“Oh, wait,” Konner yelled as she ran to join and smile with them.

dfeldman@gazette.net



Montgomery County Gymnastics Championships

Team scores

1. Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 177.1

2. Walter Johnson, 169.875

3. Whitman, 158.875

4. Blair, 147.55

5. Sherwood, 145.3

6. Springbrook, 140.975

7. Blake, 134.15

8. Gaithersburg, 82.75

All-Around

1. Julia Konner, Bethesda-Chevy Chase

2. Grace Leslau, Walter Johnson

3. Julia Kaplan, Bethesda-Chevy Chase

Bars

1. Julia Konner, Bethesda-Chevy Chase

2. Julia Kaplan, Bethesda-Chevy Chase

3. Nicole Folkes, Bethesda-Chevy

Beam

1. Julia Konner, Bethesda-Chevy Chase

2. Ellie Wiersma, Sherwood

3. Grace Leslau, Walter Johnson

Floor

1. Julia Konner, Bethesda-Chevy Chase

2. Raven Boyd, Springbrook

3. Grace Leslau, Walter Johnson

Vault

1. Julia Konner, Bethesda-Chevy Chase

2. Guillemette Bodenreider, Walter Johnson

3. Ellie Wiersma, Sherwood