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San Diego Section Gymnastics : Virgil Recovers and Helps Santana to Another Title

Cheerleader Jamie Virgil injured her elbow after falling from atop a human pyramid early in the 1985-86 school year. Virgil, a Santana High senior, refers to last year as “a big joke.”

But she wasn’t laughing. In her freshman year, Virgil finished as the top optional all-around gymnast at the San Diego Section finals. As a sophomore, she finished second in the finals. But in her junior year, after missing part of the season because of her elbow injury, she failed to qualify for the finals as an individual.

At Saturday’s Section gymnastics meet at Torrey Pines High School, Virgil’s goal--set at the outset of this season--was to better her 1985 performance. She did, finishing second as optional all-around gymnast.

Sophomore Eileen Maul, who finished first for the second straight year with 37.95 points, and Virgil (36.7) helped Santana capture the team title for the third year in a row with 219.8 points. Runner-up Valhalla had 210.7.

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“I’m glad I ended my senior year the way I wanted to,” Virgil said. “I just wanted to forget (last season) and come back this year.”

Virgil’s overall score was boosted by her performance on the optional vault. She won the event with a 9.55, ahead of second-place Maul (9.5).

“I’m really glad that on my last meet I stuck my vault,” Virgil said. “I started crying when I landed. I don’t know why, I was just so happy.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if I fell on everything else today, because I was so happy with my vault.”

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Because of the tight competition between Maul and Virgil all season, they have been painted as rivals by some. That bothers Virgil.

“She helps me and I help her,” Virgil said. “It’s not like ‘I’m out to get her’ or anything. We have a lot of competition between each other and people think we are enemies. But we are good friends and we really work well together.”

On the balance beam, which was won by University’s Maria Kolbo with a 9.35, Maul finished second with 9.3. She said it was her best performance of the day. . “I knew I needed the beam,” she said. “I knew I had to stay on. It wasn’t my highest score, but it was my best routine.”

Virgil seemed on her way to a medal-winning performance on the beam after executing a perfect back flip without a wobble. But her second attempt at a back flip landed her on the floor.

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“My feet were off a little bit and that little bit made a difference,” she said.

Virgil said she normally is nervous throughout most meets, but Saturday she was at ease.

“Usually I’m super tense until the meet is over,” she said. “But this time, I just wanted to enjoy myself and do well because it was my last meet.”

Compulsory Competition All-around--Andrea Eidsmore (Santana) 36.3, Heather Baldwin (Torrey Pines) 36.2, Susan Ashe (Santana) 36.05; Floor exercise--Nancy Gawrys (Santana) 9.35, Wendy Ballou (Mount Carmel) 9.3, Susan Ashe (Santana) 9.05; Uneven bars--Colleen Bailey (Valhalla) 9.5, Tristie Graetz (Mount Carmel) 9.45, Theresa Biernacki (San Dieguito) 9.4; Vaulting--Andrea Eidsmore (Santana) 36.3, Heather Baldwin (Torrey Pines) 9.55, Michelle Sanderline (Monte Vista) 9.35; Balance beam--Andrea Eidsmore (Santana) 8.9, Camile Ellinger (Escondido) 8.65, Heather Baldwin (Torrey Pines) 8.65.

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Optional Competition All-around--Eileen Maul (Santana) 37.95, Jamie Virgil (Santana) 36.7, Jennifer Minkler (Valhalla) 36.65; Floor exercise--Jennifer Minkler (Valhalla) 9.7, Eileen Maul (Santana) 9.55, Jamie Virgil (Santana) 9.5; Uneven bars--Dawn Hansen (Santana) 9.5, Mindy Bailey (Mira Mesa) 9.3, Lisa Cody (Torrey Pines) 9.25; Vaulting--Jamie Virgil (Santana) 9.55, Eileen Maul (Santana) 9.5, Tricia Thompson (El Camino) 9.3; Balance beam--Maria Kolbo (University) 9.35, Eileen Maul (Santana) 9.3, Jennifer Minkler (Valhalla) 9.1.

Team scores--Santana 219.8, Valhalla 210.7, Mount Carmel 208.25.


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