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story.lead_photo.caption Back-to-back The Camden Fairview Lady Cardinals Gymnastics team members are State Champions once again. Team members pose with a Cardinal fan and gymnast phenom London Jeffers. Pictured front row from left are Kameron Vaughan, Bianca Garcia, Shayla Hall, London Jeffers, MacKenlee Kimbrough, and Haylee Hines. Back row, from left are Jasmine Scott, Hope Hesterly, Chelsea Purifoy, Mya Campbell, Mariah Kelly, and Gabbie Arnold.

— By PATRIC FLANNIGAN

Sports editor

The Camden Fairview Lady Cardinal Gymnastics team are State Champions once again.

LCG Coach Nancy Delorme took time to speak with the Camden News about her team’s undefeated season and back-to-back title campaign.

The Lady Cardinals won the title with a score of 163.675 and senior Shayla Hall claimed the event’s top prize winning first place all around with Hope Hesterly landing in second. Mariah Kelly finished fifth and Kameron Vaughan finished in eighth.

Dumas followed with a score of 150.525 and Monticello scored 146.475.

Hall claimed first place in the Floor routine followed by Vaughan who finished third. Kelly placed fourth and Hesterly claimed fifth. Bianca Garcia tabbed ninth.

In the Vault competition, Hesterly placed first with Vaughan coming in third. Hall landed in fourth, Kelly fifth, Chelsey Purifoy sixth and Gabby Arnold seventh.

Hall placed fifth in the Bars followed by Purifoy (sixth), Hesterly (seventh), Mya Campbell (eight) and Kelly (tenth.)

In the Beam, Hesterly finished first with Hall landing in second. Campbell, Kelly and Purifoy finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Delorme said the team had to make unexpected adjustments to win the meet because of an injury to Jasmine Scott during warm ups. Delorme said she is thankful that the injury is just a sprain and praised Campbell, Purifoy and Vaughn for filling in.

“Jasmine (Scott) got hurt right off the bat,” Delorme recounted. “That kinda threw us for a loop but I tell ya, Mya Campbell really stepped up. She’s a senior and just really came in and did really well on the Beam and on the Floor for us. And then Chelsea stepped up on the floor and then my freshman Kameron Vaughan stepped in and did Bars. Jasmine was going to be an all around scorer for us so it took three girls to replace her but we ended up doing it. I felt like going up (to Blytheville) the night before helped and the girls really bonded and had a big time.”

C.F. has established a dynasty in the gymnastics realm. This state title is C.F.’s seventh in the last 10 years and the second since Delorme took over as head coach three years ago. Delorme applauded her seniors - Mya Campbell, Sahyla Hall, Hope Hesterly and Mariah Kelly - for their accomplishments and said that now it’s time for the younger gymnasts to step up. She expressed that she believes they can engineer another state title if they work hard. Some of the seniors will be able to use their gymnastics background do competitive cheer leading in college.

“I got four seniors that have been fantastic and I’m going to miss them,” Delorme shared. “I wish them well. I see them accomplishing anything they want because they are just a fantastic group of young ladies. Now the group that I’ve got coming up, I see us being able to win again next year. If they put their heads to it and put in the hard work I don’t see why we can’t do it again. Have a three-peat. But its like I said, they are going to have to work for it. This year the younger gymnasts didn’t have to do as much because my seniors had so much talent and we had some experienced juniors. Now its on all of them. They are going to have to really work hard.”

Delorme said that while C.F. was dominant over the gymnastics season, it was anything but easy. She thanked administration and the parents for their support and recognized assistant coach Brandy Garcia and stated that “we would not have won back-to-back without her knowledge of floor and beam.” Delorme said that Garcia has been a great addition to the program.

“I want to Thank Mr. (Ricky) Tucker (C.F. Athletic Director) for always supporting us and keeping us held in tact,” Delorme stated. “It’s been a tough year. We’ve had some adversity, but he’s really come in and stepped in a few time and talked to the girls and really bolstered their confidence. (C.F. Superintendent) Mr. (Mark) Keith has had our back too and (C.F. Deputy Superintendent) Mr. (Fred) Lilly and (C.F. High School Principal) Mr. (Gary) Steelman too, of course. They’ve all been really good to us. Mrs. Linda Vaughn went up with us and stayed the night in one of the rooms with the girls. Mrs. Long and Mrs. Davis came and helped us during the meets with the score keeping and stuff. And I have to thank all of the parents too. Getting the girls to the practices and home from practices even coming and supporting us during all our meets. Got a really good group of parents. Good group coming up too.”

“I’m just really proud of these girls, they did a phenomenal job,” Delorme said in closing. “They held it together and they pulled it off. We’ve been winning all year by a bunch of points and they stayed true to the course. They didn’t sit back and or get complacent because they were winning every meet by 16 or 17 points - which is a lot in gymnastics. That’s like the mercy ruling in other sports. They didn’t sit back. They knew these teams would be moving up freshman and they were coming for us. And things happen at state. You never know how the judges are going to go. You just never know whats going to happen. They just kept at it hard.”

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