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Stars' Shealy second at state meet

ATLANTA — Level 10 gymnast Michelle Shealy has been in numerous competitions in many gyms since she began in the sport at age 4.

But she proved again Friday there's something special about Westminster's Turner Gym.

The Providence Christian senior finished second in the all-around to Alpharetta's Kelsey Kopec in the all-classification state meet, barely missing a repeat of her all-around championship in 2009, which included a perfect 10 on floor exercise.

"Just coming in here, it does remind me of that (10)," the Iowa State signee said. "It's an awesome feeling coming here. I like competing here."

Shealy was all smiles before her opening bars routine and after her closing vault competition. She repeated as champion on beam and floor at 9.55, again was second on vault at 9.775 and added a 9.35 on bars to finish the all-around with 38.225, barely behind Kopec (38.25).

Meanwhile, Lassiter won its first state championship with 108.375 points, ahead of Walton (109.050) and Chattahoochee (108.375).

Shealy was most pleased with her vault, whose difficulty she increased on the spur of the moment.

"It was good to go out with a good vault," she said. "I figured, ‘Hey, it's state and my last event. So why not go out with a bang.'"

Unlike last season, when the Stars became the first Gwinnett County team to ever win state, Shealy qualified alone for state. But she said she never felt alone there, backed by the cheers of nearby teammates and the ever watchful eye of coach Gwyn Puckett.

"They're not competing, but they were here supporting me, which was just about the same," Shealy said.