Imagine trying to keep 13 high school girls happy.
Even on a great day that can be challenging, but the Bishop Dwenger gymnastics team thrives on stressing the team part of what is really a sport all about individuals.
The Saints have 13 competitors on the varsity roster, and it's likely nine will compete in Saturday's state meet at Ball State. Junior Katy Linvill is the only one who will participate in every event, meaning the No. 2-ranked Saints will need another strong performance from a variety of athletes to win back-to-back state titles.
When the opening ceremonies start at 12:30 p.m., all the Saints will march out and all will know they've had a part in their team's success.
"We always tell the kids that gymnast No. 6 is pushing gymnast No. 4,'' Bishop Dwenger coach Rose Nix said. "We always tell the kids that no matter what, they are contributing. It's making everybody better. Everybody counts in the team score even if your 'score' didn't count.''
Each team goes with four competitors in each of four events and only the top three scores count toward the team total. Dwenger's key has been balance. The Saints have up to six competitors who can all score 9.0 or better on each of the four events.
Last year, the Saints used six gymnasts to win their fifth state title, but all-around competitors Brittany Trahin and Carrie Brown graduated. Senior Kaitlyn Coffee competes in two events and classmate Anne Therese Poinsatte on the beam, meaning underclassmen Andrea Nix, Alena Chilian, Alexis Eddy, Grace Gillig, Cecilia Sordelet and Maria Trahin have filled in the open spots.
Almost all of the Saints could probably compete as all-around competitors at most area schools.
"I like coming to the meet and just focusing on two events,'' Coffee said. "It also allows me to cheer for my teammates and focus on them. It's rough sometimes, but the camaraderie on the team is great and people really support each other.''
Coffee and Poinsatte are both exceptional high school gymnasts in individual events. Coffee won the sectional title on the vault and placed eighth in the state last year on the floor. Poinsatte specializes on the beam.
"Everyone knows they want to put the team above themselves,'' Poinsatte said. "Nobody is selfish about it.''
But everyone wants to perform on the biggest stage.
"It would be nice to be able to compete everybody but that's not going to happen,'' Nix said. "It's hard because you see the disappointment. We don't tell the kids who's competing until the day of. That's when you have to be strong, and in life everything is not going to come walking your way. They realize we're trying to make the best team because we want the team to do well overall.''