Farmington United gymnastics claims state title

By: Mike Moore | Farmington Press | Published March 26, 2018

 The Farmington United gymnastics team claimed a state title this winter, the first for the program since 2006.

The Farmington United gymnastics team claimed a state title this winter, the first for the program since 2006.

Photo provided by Ann Amshay

 Elisa Bills won a state title in the balance beam with a score of 9.575 and then claimed the All-Around title with a final score of 37.175.

Elisa Bills won a state title in the balance beam with a score of 9.575 and then claimed the All-Around title with a final score of 37.175.

Photo provided by Kathy Burns

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Nearly two full weeks had passed when Jeff Dwyer was speaking about this title, the journey to it, the final seconds before it was realized and what may come next.

And by all accounts, you would have thought the trophy had been presented just a few moments prior.

“I still think about it all the time,” the Farmington United gymnastics coach said. “I mean, I’ll just sit and think that we really accomplished something like this.”

On March 9, Farmington United found itself in Rockford competing for, and winning, its first state title since 2006.

“This really means a lot,” Dwyer said. “I mean, the NCAA basketball tournament, for example, you go to win it. We went there to win it, but there’s no guarantee to do so. At the same time, we felt we were in a good position to be at the top.”

 United was one of 12 teams to reach the finals, and it took every best effort to find a way to the top spot in the final standings.

Team scores are calculated by combining all four events — uneven parallel bars, balance beam, the vault and the floor exercise — for one final score.

And this one was close.

“You need everyone doing their thing,” Dwyer said. “We understood how close these teams were coming in.”

United, Northville High and Rockford High were all neck and neck as the competition went on.

In the final round, Rockford finished its day with a total of 144.450. United finished next, and did so with a 144.750.

Then it was time to wait and see what Northville could do.

“It was down to the wire, down to the last competitor,” Dwyer said. “It was a killer to sit and wait. I’m 56, and I’m excited like a 12-year-old baseball player. That anticipation and that thrill doesn’t go away. When it hit us, it was just awesome.

“We knew our score. We knew we had defeated Rockford, who was already done,” he continued. “But Northville was the last team competing, and they were on vault, which is where they are very good. We knew what they had to hit.”

Northville wrapped up its set, and did so with a 144.550, all of 0.200 behind United.

“That’s one knee bent the wrong way,” Dwyer laughed. “It’s such a great athletic event, where all three teams were hitting.”

United won three state titles in a row from 2004 to 2006, but hadn’t been to the top of the standings since.

“This is the best one because it’s the most recent,” said Dwyer, the coach since 1986. “These are some great athletes, and to get on the same page and accomplish a team goal like this is pretty special.”

But the awards weren’t done. The next day at the individual event, Elisa Bills won a state title in the balance beam with a score of 9.575 and then claimed the all-around title with a final score of 37.175.

Kasey Noseworthy tied for third in the all-around with 36.575, and Ava Farquhar was seventh with 36.075.

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