Preview: Challengers Lining Up as Reigning Team Champ Chases 3-Peat

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 7, 2024

This weekend’s MHSAA Gymnastics Finals at Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills could see the reigning team champion three-peat for the second time over the last decade – but with another close competition likely in store.

Rockford/Sparta is seeking a third straight team title after also accomplishing that feat from 2015-17 but will face strong contenders including a pair seeking a first Finals championship since the 1990s.

On the individual side, the 2023 Division 1 champion graduated, and reigning Division 2 title winner Lydia Beaton from Grand Ledge will compete in Division 1 this time – meaning at least one new champion will climb the podium.

Team competition begins at 4 p.m. Friday, with individual competition in both Divisions 1 and 2 beginning at noon Saturday. For information on purchasing tickets, Finals rotations for both days and Regional results, go to the Gymnastics page – and see below for several contenders to watch:


Farmington United: With a 37.1 on the balance beam leading the way, Farmington won its Regional last week by 6.4 points with a total score of 144.750. The team is seeking its first championship since winning back-to-back in 2018-19 and finished third at the Final a year ago. Five gymnasts from that team return, and junior Leah Hodge led at the Regional with a 38.425 all-around.

Hartland: The Eagles are seeking their first team championship since 1999 and won their Regional by more than six points as well at 145.75. Hartland broke 36 points on floor, vault and beam, totaling 36.95 scores on the latter two. The Eagles finished fourth at the Final a year ago, and four gymnasts return who competed in that effort. Sophomores Abby Griffen and Kate Gostlin finished third and fourth, respectively, in Division 1 all-around at the Regional.

Rockford/Sparta: The Rams have won the last two Division 1 championships and clinched their Regional title last week with a score of 145.4 – nearly seven points better than the field. That score included a 38 on floor exercise and 37.9 on balance beam. Six of eight gymnasts who competed in last season’s Final will be back this weekend, led by senior Hailey Hill, the Division 2 individual champion at the Regional.

Salem: The Rocks finished sixth last season and are seeking their first Finals team title since 1993, and they won arguably the most competitive Regional last week as three teams scored 140 or higher. Salem posted a 143.250 paced by a 37.900 on floor exercise. Senior Katie Stewart took third in the Division 1 all-around, and senior Anna Barczyk was runner-up in Division 2.

Division 1

Lydia Beaton, Grand Ledge senior: Last year’s Division 2 all-around champion will compete in Division 1 this weekend after finishing sixth all-around at her Regional with a second-place tie on vault and third on floor exercise.

Anna Browne, Brighton senior: She finished ninth in Division 1 all-around last season and fifth at her Regional last week with a 35.95 which included a fourth place on vault and sixth places on uneven parallel bars and balance beam.

Kate Gostlin, Hartland sophomore: As noted above, Gostlin finished fourth at her Regional last week scoring a 36 all-around score and with a first place on vault (9.7). She competed on beam and vault at the team competition as a freshman.

Abby Griffen, Hartland sophomore: Griffen’s third-place Regional score of 36.725 was only a tenth of a point out of second and included a runner-up finish on vault and third place on bars.

Jenna Griffin, Saline senior: She competed on Division 1 vault at last season’s Final, tying for 16th, and will compete all-around this time coming off a fifth-place Regional score of 35.975.

Leah Hodge, Farmington United junior: She won her Regional all-around by nearly two points with a 38.425 and first places on floor (9.55), beam (9.9), bars (9.525) and vault (9.45).

Elsa Kehoe, Forest Hills United senior: She won her Regional all-around championship with a 36.725 that included first places on vault (8.875), bars (8.85) and floor (9.65) and a second place on beam.

Leah Koch, Rockford junior: She was the Regional all-around runner-up to Kehoe with a score of 35.95 that included a first place on beam (9.55) and top-three finishes on the other three apparatuses.

Noelle Licari, Northville junior: She qualified on Division 1 vault for last year’s Final and will compete all-around this time after tying for first at her Regional with a 36.325.

Stella Musialowski, Huron Valley United sophomore: She finished Regional runner-up with an all-around of 36.500 that included second places on beam, bars and vault.

Maria Petru, Howell senior: After moving from Division 2 to Division 1 last season, Petru finished fifth all-around at the Final and could contend this weekend coming off a winning Regional all-around of 37.1 with a first place on floor (9.625).

Lia Pinkosky, Canton senior: She also made the jump from Division 2 to Division 1 as a junior, finishing 14th all-around at the Final. She tied Licari for a Regional all-around title last weekend at 36.325 with second places on bars and beam.

Keira Sadler, Linden/Fenton/Lake Fenton junior: She finished Regional runner-up to Petru at 36.375 with a first place on beam (9.35) and will look to improve on her 12th-place all-around in Division 1 a year ago.

Alisa Shiraishi, Novi senior: She finished a close fourth at her Regional with a 36-point all-around that included a first place on beam (9.1) and third place on floor.

Katie Stewart, Salem senior: She finished eighth all-around as a sophomore and 11th last season and should be back in contention coming off a 36.275 Regional all-around that missed tying for first by five hundredths of a point. She won bars (9.475) and vault (9.425) in building that score.

Division 2

Anna Barczyk, Salem senior: She finished sixth in Division 2 all-around last season and heads into this weekend coming off a Regional runner-up finish with a score of 35.700 and first places on vault (8.95) and beam (9.15).

Charlotte Calhoun, Coldwater senior: She went from 15th all-around as a sophomore to second last season and should be back in contention after finishing second at her Regional (36.7) with a first place on bars (9.4).

Alex Cinzori, Plymouth senior: She tied for eighth all-around last season and is coming off her second-straight Regional all-around title, her score of 35.825 including a first place on floor (9.6) and seconds on bars and beam.

Sydney Eiler, Haslett United senior: She qualified on bars for last season’s Final and will return competing all-around after winning her Regional with a 34.625 that included a first place on bars (8.475).

Hailey Hill, Rockford senior: She finished fourth all-around last season and returns after winning her Regional just ahead of Calhoun at 36.975 with a first place on beam (9.825) and top-five finishes on every other apparatus.

Addi Richmond, Jackson Area senior: She’s finished ninth, 10th and fifth all-around over her first three seasons and was third to Hill and Calhoun at their Regional with a 35.925 all-around that included a first place on floor (9.65) and second place on bars.

Sophia Yee, Farmington United junior: She tied for 16th all-around last season and should make a jump after winning her Regional all-around with a 35.575 and first place on beam (9.5).

PHOTO Salem’s Katie Stewart competes on balance beam during the 2023 Finals individual competition. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

Performance of the Week: North Farmington's Leah Hodge

March 14, 2024

Leah Hodge headshotLeah Hodge ♦ North Farmington
Junior ♦ Gymnastics

Hodge, coming off a dominating Division 1 Regional win the week before, finished the season with another memorable weekend helping Farmington United to a runner-up finish at Friday’s Team Final before clinching the Division 1 individual championship Saturday with an all-around score of 38.000.

A gymnast since she was 6 years old, Hodge scored a meet-high 37.950 all-around Friday as Farmington United finished second, just two tenths of a point off the lead, and her Saturday performance included a championship on uneven parallel bars (9.55), runner-up finish on vault (9.50), fourth place on balance beam (9.425) and sixth place on floor exercise (9.525) – despite her injuring an ankle midway through the meet. Farmington United is a cooperative program with athletes from North Farmington and Farmington high schools. 

@mhsaasports 🤸POW: Leah Hodge #gymnastics #individual #champion #letsgo #farmingtonunited #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🤸POW: Leah Hodge #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #simonebiles #sourpatchkids #drake #olives #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

March 8: Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
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

PHOTO Farmington United's Leah Hodge competes during the floor exercise Saturday at Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)