The regular season might have started a couple of weeks ago, but the real girls gymnastics season starts Saturday morning at Concordia Lutheran. State championship contenders Valparaiso and Bishop Dwenger will lead the 12-team field at the 28th Becky Carter Classic.The Carter Classic started in 1986 as a way for then-Cadets coach Vicki Wright to showcase a young team. Becky Carter won the state balance beam title and the mental attitude award later that first year. A few years later, Carter became ill with aplastic anemia and died in 1993. The meet was renamed for her in 1994.
This year's teams competing are Valparaiso, Snider, Concordia, Carroll, Bishop Dwenger, Heritage, Homestead, Connersville, Angola, Merrilleville, Huntington North and Northrop. The festivities start at 11:15 a.m. with the march in.
This could be an outstanding year for local competitors as several top-quality individuals return. Bishop Dwenger will be the area favorite behind seniors Katy Linvill and Alena Chillian, juniors Alexis Eddie and Andrea Nix, and sophomores Maria Trahin and Grace Gilig. Carroll will be the Saints' main threat with seniors Morgan Moehle and Chelsea Fischer, junior Sydney Ulrey and sophomore Briley Hogle.
DeKalb will also have a solid team behind juniors Riley Gibson, Haley Gibson and Keziah Lehrman and sophomore Caitlin Marlow. Concordia is rebuilding behind juniors Rayna Mickelini and Alyissa Koop and sophomore Kassidy Jones, and Homestead has juniors Taylor Ross, Madison Moore and Sophie Tsiguloff.
Individuals who could star this season include Heritage junior Rachael Anderson, Snider's Angela Cuevas and Northrop sophomore Lauren Wagner.
Follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at www.twitter.com/blakesebring and at his blog www.tailingthekomets.com.