Farmington Aims to Repeat, Perfectly

February 18, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Special for Second Half

Seniors on the Farmington United gymnastics team haven’t lost a dual meet during their high school careers.

So when longtime coach Jeff Dwyer rested some of his standouts against Grosse Pointe United two weeks ago, and his team then found itself locked in a meet too close to call until the very end, well …

“They were not happy,” Dwyer recalled.

Farmington United – a co-op of Farmington High, North Farmington and Farmington Hills Harrison, and the reigning MHSAA Finals champion – did manage to pull out the win that night. And Dwyer now knows his athletes have made a perfect season one of their goals this winter.

Perfection is not a goal he sets for his teams. But it’s one he certainly can appreciate.

“When a team is driven like that, I know they’re talking amongst themselves,” Dwyer said. “When you have a core group that works hard and knows they can be one of the top teams in the state, and they go hard, that’s awesome.”

And Farmington United has been awesome – and then some. The MHSAA/Applebee’s “Team of the Month” for January will enter Wednesday’s dual against Salem with the opportunity to finish a perfect regular season, and should be the favorite to win Regional and Finals championships next month.

United closed January with its third straight championship at the Jeanne Caruss Invitational at White Lake Lakeland, scoring a season-high 147.325 – nearly three points more than last season’s MHSAA Finals-winning total.

The following weekend, United won the annual Canton Invitational, generally considered a preview of the Finals, by more than three points.

United graduated two-time Division 2 individual champion Elisa Bills and another strong contributor in Emily Stecevic last spring, but has been keyed in part by junior addition Elena Vargo – an expected contender for the Division 1 all-around championship next month.

She joined a veteran group of standouts paced by senior Kacey Noseworthy (tied for third in Division 2 in 2018), senior Ava Farquhar (seventh), sophomore Sydney Schultz (12th) and sophomore Allison Schultz (20th), plus senior Shelby Smith, who posted two top-20 event finishes in Division 2 in 2018.

“They got the experience from last year, which was huge,” Dwyer said. “That's invaluable. That makes life a lot easier, because they know what it takes and they're pretty serious about it.”

Dwyer has coached at the high school level since 1987 and took over the Tri-Farmington program in 1994. He led Tri-Farmington to three straight MHSAA championships from 2004-06.

As his current team goes for a second straight title, he’s noticed similarities to last decade’s champs in his current gymnasts’ competitiveness, determination and work ethic.

"This group, to carry over from last year to this year, it’s not just the coaches but the girls were determined to make something happen again this year,” Dwyer said. “It helped a ton getting Elena. But you still gotta count four scores in every category.”

Past Teams of the Month, 2018-19

December: Warren Woods-Tower wrestling – Read
November: Rochester Adams girls swimming & diving – Read
October: Leland boys soccer – Read
September: Pickford football – Read
August: Northville girls golf – Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Kacey Noseworthy is among high Finals placers from 2018 hoping to lead Farmington United to a second straight team championship next month. (Middle) Elena Vargo, here competing on beam, has added plenty of big scores to the mix this winter. (Photos by Roger Playle.)

Performance of the Week: Escanaba's Sophia Wagner

December 8, 2023

Sophia WagnerSophia Wagner ♦ Escanaba
Senior ♦ Gymnastics

In just her team’s second competition this season, Wagner set program records with a 9.8 on floor exercise and 37.380 all-around to finish first in both at the Escanaba Elks Invitational. The floor exercise record topped the previous Escanaba-best 9.7 scored by current senior teammate Sophie Lehto last season.

Escanaba’s gymnastics program has made major statewide strides over the last half-decade, and Wagner reached the Finals podium last season tying for fifth on Division 2 balance beam with a score of 9.025 while also tying for 22nd on vault. The week before, Wagner helped lead Escanaba to a sixth-place Regional finish against a field that included the last two Finals team champions. She also played tennis and was part of the No. 3 doubles runner-up as Escanaba shared the Upper Peninsula Division 1 team title this fall, and she finished second in pole vault and ran on the seventh-place 400-meter relay in the spring as Escanaba finished third at the UPD1 Girls Track & Field Finals.

@mhsaasports 🤸POW: Sophia Wagner #gymnastics #letsgo #team #escanaba #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🤸POW: Sophia Wagner #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #simonebiles #gymnastics #letsgo #proposal #hearthands #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

Dec. 1: Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photos courtesy of Victory Video and Photography.)