One month after her second straight state appearance this past April, Seymour senior Alyssa Goen returned to her athletics home at Gymnastics Lane.
A relentless worker, Goen went back to the bars, beam, vault and floor to perfect her routines with coach Angie Mellencamp.
While eighth place on the floor proved a nice finish in the postseason at Ball State University, Goen has set her sights higher for the 2016 season.
Now, she wants to show her athleticism in every event on the grand stage.
“I want to get to state in the all-around,” Goen said with a grin. “I want to get better at beam and bars. Those are the two kind of tricky events. I want to make it to state in the all-around and also advance as a team.”
Goen scored 9.45 on the floor at regional, just .025 points above the seventh place spot to return to state in 2015.
The Owls’ lone regional qualifier, Goen also competed on the beam and finished 13th with an 8.425.
“I think her confidence in her floor and beam routine have improved,” Mellencamp said. “Bars is still coming along — it has been a demon for a couple years for her. She has gotten stronger in swinging the bars harder which makes the skills easier to complete.
“Last year, she had a great chance at getting all-around. Other than bars, her scores were right there to get to state in all-around. If she stays healthy and continues working she has a great chance this year.”
This past summer, Goen faced a minor setback with a bruised heel.
That injury slowed her training down for about five weeks as she returned to full health.
“The biggest thing right now is her vault,” Mellencamp said. “Because of the bruised heel, she is still climbing back from the injury. Her power just isn’t where it needs to be yet. We need to excel past that this year.”
While the vault remains a work in progress, Goen has continued to improve on the floor.
Last season, from start to finish, Goen improved her floor score by an entire point by the end of state competition.
“She has always excelled on the floor, but we put in difficulty on every single pass — she has maxed-out on her difficulty this year,” Mellencamp said. “That’s something that’s different than years before. Beam has gotten a lot cleaner and the amplitude is a lot higher.”
This year’s gymnastics team at Seymour features two freshman, three sophomores and Goen.
On Saturday, the Owls narrowly fell to Columbus East 104.4-102.3.
“I thought it went really well for our first meet, especially with so many underclassmen,” Goen said. “Jenna (Thomas) and I are the only ones returning. The other girls had never competed in a high school meet.
“They act very mature for their age. They’re always in the gym working. It’s nice that they’re so focused and have the same goals. It’s nice because the girls will come to me and I can help them out.”
As the lone upperclassman, Goen has fell into a new leadership role on the team.
“She has been forced into a leadership role, but she has stepped up to the plate as far as being a leader for the team,” Mellencamp said. “She is excellent at giving girls corrections from a different point of view. She is always willing to help the girls on their routines and skill sets.”
Should Goen advance to state again this season, it would be the second time that a Seymour gymnast has advanced to the final stage in three consecutive years.
Kelly Deppen first accomplished the feat from her freshman to junior year before graduating in 2013.