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STATE CHAMPS! ALL-JUNIOR TEAM: Final fours for gymnastics, boys swimming and competitive cheer

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, April 21, 2020, 2:40 pm

We’re now ready for final installation for the All-Junior Team final fours for the winter season, but this trio of sports was a bit harder to pick, simply because two of the three didn’t get to finish their seasons, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gymnastics and boys swimming were both ready to hold their finals when the winter seasons were halted and then finally canceled. Competitive cheer got its finals in at the Delta Plex in Grand Rapids on March 6-7, just four days before the rest of the postseasons were first impacted. 

With the input of the Competitive Cheer Coaches Association of Michigan, and the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association, as well as a handful of gymnastics coaches, we came up with a final four for each of the sports.

We will unveil the winners from each of the sports — and all of the winter winners — on STATE CHAMPS! LIVE on Friday, April 24, at 2 p.m. Stay tuned to all of our social media channels for a link to the show.

[UPDATE: We won’t be unveiling the winners of the All-Junior Team slots for the winter season until the STATE CHAMPS! LIVE on Friday, May 1.]

Here are the final fours for gymnastics, boys swimming and competitive cheer, with each of these 12 athletes just one cut away from making the 2019-20 All-Junior Team: 

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GYMNASTICS FINAL FOUR

Isabella Dyer, Fraser
Dyer was second all-around at 2020 regionals, qualifying for the state meet. Broke her own school record with a 9.675 on the beam in early February, then later in the month, helped the team set its overall highest score in program history with a 140.6

Finished sixth all-around — 35.750 (ninth in vault — 8.975, fourth on beam — 9.400) as a sophomore at the state meet.

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Cate Gagnier, Grosse Pointe 

Gagnier won D1 all-around title as a freshman in 2018 (first on vault, first on beam), third as a sophomore — 36.525 (eighth on vault — 9.000, eighth on uneven bars — 8.850, second on beam — 9.475, fifth on floor — 9.200).

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Lizzie Maurer, Grand Ledge

Fifth all-around as a freshman, with top-10 finishes in vault, bars, floor; fourth all-around as a sophomore — 36.375 (10th on vault — 8.950, tied for 10th on uneven bars — 8.750, tied for sixth on beam — 9.275, second on floor — 9.400). Slow start to junior season because of injury, but placed first in all-around in eight of 10 meets, and had 22 individual first-place event finishes and 10 seconds. At the CAAC meet, took first all-around, finishing first on all events but the beam (fourth).

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Katelyn O’Brien, Northville

O’Brien was second all-around at state meet as a sophomore — 36.675 (third on vault — 9.300, second on uneven bars — 9.200, tied for sixth on beam —9.275, tied for 16th on floor — 8.900). Third all-around at regionals as a junior, won the vault, earning all-state honors.

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BOYS SWIMMING FINAL FOUR

Jonas Cantrell, Mason

As a junior, Cantrell won CAAC Red titles in the 500 and 200 freestyle races, won the 200 at the MISCA meet (1:42.19) and finished second at the MISCA in the 500 (4:36.69).

Had the state meet happened, Cantrell was qualified for two Bulldog relays:

• 200 free relay team seeded fifth in D3

• 400 free relay team seeded fifth in D3 (tied for sixth at MISCA meet)

The defending D3 champ in the 500 freestyle, he was also:

• seeded first in the 500 free (4:36.69).

• seeded second in the 200 free (1:42.19).

Cantrell is ranked as the No. 9 recruit in Michigan’s 2021 Class by SwimCloud.com. 

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Jack Hamilton, Berkley

As a junior, Hamilton OAA White titles in 100 backstroke and 200 IM, then won an Oakland County title in 100 backstroke, and was second in 200 IM at the Oakland County meet.

Had the state meet happened, Hamilton was qualified to be part of two Berkley relays:

• 200 free relay seeded 19th in D2

• 400 free relay seeded 26th in D2

The defending D2 champion in the 100 backstroke, Hamilton was seeded first in the event for this year’s state meet (50.16)

He was also:

• seeded 2nd in the 200 IM (1:53.09)

Hamilton is ranked as the No. 5 recruit in Michigan’s 2021 class by SwimCloud.com.

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Trevor Jones, Farmington 

As a junior, Jones won 100 butterfly and 200 IM titles at the OAA Red meet, then was second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 100 butterfly at the Oakland County meet. The Falcons finished second to county champion Detroit Catholic Central at the event, with Jones swimming the anchor leg of the second-place 200 freestyle relay and the lead leg of the winning 400 freestyle relay.

Had the Division 2 state meet happened, Jones was qualified to be part of three Falcon relays:

• 200 medley relay seeded second in D2

• 400 free relay, seeded first in D2

• 200 free relay seeded second in D2

He was also: 

• seeded second in to 200 freestyle (1:42.53)

• seeded sixth in the 100 butterfly (51.17)

Jones is ranked as the No. 6 recruit in Michigan’s 2021 Class by SwimCloud.com. 

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Matthew Segal, Ann Arbor Pioneer

As a junior, Segal won SEC Red titles in 200 freestyle and 200 IM.

Had the state meet happened, Segal was qualified to be part of three Pioneer relays:

• 200 medley relay seeded second in D1

• 200 freestyle relay seeded fifth in D1

• 400 freestyle relay seeded sixth in D1

He was also:

• seeded first in the 100 breaststroke (56.30) — an event in which he took second at USA Swimming Junior National time trials last August (1:04.25)

• seeded 2nd in the 200 IM (1:52.15)

Committed to Wisconsin, Segal is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in Michigan’s Class of 2021 by SwimCloud.com.

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COMPETITIVE CHEER FINAL FOUR

Claire Crutchfield, Rochester Adams

Crutchfield was an honorable mention as a sophomore, when the Highlanders finished with as runners-up in D1 for a second straight season (and third in program history). After a third-place finish in the Oakland Activities Association’s Red Division, Crutchfield — who has been on varsity since her freshman season, and is the only junior who participates in Adams’ Round 2 performance — helped lead a young Highlanders team (four seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores, eight freshmen) to a high score of 793.7 in districts (the best in D1 entering the finals), and a first-ever state title for Adams. Crutchfield was voted team MVP.

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Anna David, Walled Lake Western

A part of the varsity since her freshman season, David has been a part of the last three city championship-winning squads, and three straight Lakes Valley Conference titles, as well as two straight state finals appearances. The Warriors made it back to the finals after debuting there a year ago, their regional-winning score (783.50) ranking as the fourth-highest in D2 heading into the finals. David helped lead Western to a fourth-place finish at the D2 finals, up four spots from a year earlier. She has competed all three rounds of MHSAA competitive cheer since her placement on the team three years ago. She is a member of the 2020 All State Team.

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Skyler Longton, Allen Park

Allen Park won eight meets on the season, and finished second in three more, and went into the finals with the highest Round 3 and overall scores in the state, regardless of division. Downriver League foe Gibraltar Carlson won the league title, but AP won the regional, and its third state title (to go with four runner-up finishes.)

Longton was second-team all-state as a sophomore.

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Kristi Smith, Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian

All-state as a sophomore, when NorthPointe made its first trip to the state finals, Smith tore ACL after state finals last year, missed eight months, switched positions (flyer to base). Helped NorthPointe to a second-place finish at regionals (727.32), and a seventh-place showing at D4 finals. NorthPointe won a third straight O-K Silver title.