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If there were any questions about the Lady Explorers no longer being considered among the elite, those questions were put to rest Dec. 15.
The host Hudson gymnastics team improved to 2-0 overall and 2-0 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division with a 138.55-131.1 victory over Mentor at Flytz Gymnastics in Cuyahoga Falls.
The Lady Cardinals (0-1) were the state runners-up last season.
"Beating last year's state runner-up was a huge boost to our team's confidence," Lady Explorers head coach Randi Chepke said.
"We knew they had graduated four from their starting lineup, but Mentor always brings talented gymnasts, so we trained hard all week and set small goals. We knew if we could accomplish those, we had a good chance of coming out on top."
Hudson's Teghan Piper won the all-around title with a score of 35.3. She finished first on vault (9.05) and bars (8.75); second on the floor exercise (9.1); and third on the balance beam (8.4).
"Teghan Piper had a tremendous meet this week," Chepke said. "She took top spots in three events as well as the all-around and still has room for increased difficulty. We're looking forward to seeing the progress she makes this season."
Logan Custer also had a stellar day for the Lady Explorers.
She had the third highest all-around score (34.7) and placed first on floor (9.15); second on beam (8.65); and third on bars (8.6).
"Logan Custer hit big on floor and beam," Chepke said. "She added a new, more difficult tumbling pass on floor and nailed it.
"She also brought home our biggest score on beam, but a lot of the credit goes to the girls who led the lineup.
"Jordan [Miller], Riley [Skinner] and Teghan all stuck their routines, earned very respectable numbers and set the tone for a strong team performance on beam."
Jordan Miller placed fourth in the all-around standings (33.15).
She finished fifth on vault (8.65).
Despite being hindered by an injured ankle, Mackenzie Miller took second on vault (8.95) and bars (8.7).
"Mackenzie Miller is still healing from a sprained ankle and suffered a couple of uncharacteristic falls on beam and floor," Chepke said.
"Overall though, she still brought us big scores on vault and bars. We hope she gets back to full strength soon because those extra points in her all-around will be needed as we head into some tougher competition."
Also contributing for Hudson were Jenni Spencer, who placed third on vault (8.8) and fourth on floor (8.9), and Skinner, who finished fourth on beam (8.5).
"I'm very proud of what the girls were able to put together on the competition floor this week," Chepke said. "There were some real standouts, as well as smaller, yet significant enough bumps in our individual scores that made a difference in our overall.
"Again, our underclassmen are stepping up to the challenge and giving it everything they've got out there. Jenni Spencer delivered beautifully on both of her events and Megan Urbanic shone again on floor."
The Lady Explorers are scheduled to entertain Valley Division rival North Royalton Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.