Strangely, Tracie Miller's most memorable contribution to the Severna Park girls gymnastics team this season came in the county meet. Andshe didn't even compete.
Instead, Miller scurried across the Old Mill gymnasium floor in her flowered dress, relaying statistics to the scorer's table and offering encouragement to her teammates, who placed second to Old Mill.
"I was very impressed by that," said Falcons coach Bonnie Habicht, who withheld Miller after a controversy arose concerning the junior's eligibility.
"She still wanted to be there and help. And she already had decided that if she couldn't compete in the state meet, she'd still be there to support her team."
She did more than that at the state-regional meet at Glenelg in Howard County.
With a local arbitration committee deeming her eligible for the states -- the panel concluded that she hadn't missed practices in order to compete withher club team, the Timonium-based Rebounders -- Miller won the all-around with 37.25 points.
She was victorious in one event and tied for first in another to help Severna Park to second-place, behind Atholton of Howard County.
"I was mad, but I understood the reasons (Habicht) had to keep me out. I knew I hadn't done anything wrong," said Miller, 17, the Anne Arundel County Sun Girls Gymnast of the Year.
"I just had to wait for the board to make their decision. They motivated me for the state meet."
Habicht, chosen the Girls Gymnastics Coach of the Year, said, "Her absence in the county meet had a tremendous impact. The kids were very excited and happy when they found out she could compete. We were all glad to have her back.
"She waspleased with her performance in some respects, and disappointed in others. But she was very happy to win the all-around."
Miller should be accustomed to doing so by now, having won three all-around titles this season.
"Her best quality is her dedication to the sport," Habicht said. "Anyone who goes to a private gym five days a week and works out with her high school team five days a week is really devoted."
Miller, who was born with a neuro-sensory hearing impairment resulting in a 30- to 40-decibel loss, said she finds greater joy in competing with the Falcons and being part of a high school team.
"The competition with a club is a more individual sport. In high school, it's more of a team sport with team spirit," she said.
Miller garnered 15 first-place finishes this season. She also took one second and three thirds.
While Habicht expected Miller to resume her position as the county's top female gymnast this year, she admits to being surprised at the Falcons' success.
"We only had three girls returning who had done much competition last year," she said. "They just really surprised me with the quality of their work and how hard they worked. They were willing to do just about anything. They stepped into some spots they weren't familiar with and they had to work twice ashard."
COUNTY GYMNASTICS MEET WINNERS
All-around:.. .. .... .. .. .. Peter Lombard (Annapolis), 47.7
Vault:.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Jesse Whyte (Severna Park), 8.8
Rings: .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Peter Lombard (Annapolis), 8.1
Parallel bars: .. .. .. .. .. .. Peter Lombard (Annapolis), 7.6
Pommel horse: .. .. .. .. .. .. Peter Lombard (Annapolis), 7.5
Floor exercise: .. .. .. .. .. .. Peter Lombard (Annapolis), 8.9
High bar:.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Peter Lombard (Annapolis), 7.3
All-around: (tie) CarynSanders (Old Mill) and Mollie Bell (Meade), 36.55
Floor exercise:.. .. .. .. .. .. Caryn Sanders (Old Mill), 9.45
Balance beam:.. .. .. .. .. .. .. Mollie Bell (Meade), 9.20
Vault:.. .. (tie) CarynSanders (Old Mill) and Mollie Bell (Meade), 9.25
Uneven bars:.. .. .. .. .. .. .. Caryn Sanders (Old Mill), 9.05