There are times Allison Chin doesn't seem to touch the ground -- floating gently through the air during her vault, the series of dizzying roundoffs and back-handsprings during her floor routine or that newly-acquired side aerial on the beam.
And, as it turned out, it was that sort of walking-on-air lightness that had her . . . well . . . walking on air.
Chin, a Kellenberg sophomore, earned a 9.1 on her floor routine en route to a 34.550 all around, good for the top spot in the CHSAA individual state championship at Kellenberg High School Saturday. It was the first time in two years the Firebirds have wrested the title from St. Francis Prep. Prep's two-time winner, Khayla Martinez, injured her knee in her first event, the beam, and had to be scratched.
Chin's teammate, senior Vittoria Notaro, came in second with a 33.475, while St. Francis Prep's Sabrina Laube placed third.
"I actually thought Vittoria was going to win," Chin said laughing. "You're so anxious when they read out the names. I just couldn't wait for them to call out mine."
Notaro, who earned an 8.625 on vault for her Tuck Tsuk, also had an 8.800 on floor. But her most impressive score might have very well been her lowest: the 8.000 on bars.
"It was nice to just compete," Notaro said. "Last year, I tore my meniscus in my first event, on the bars . . . I was a little worried, but I felt OK once I got bars out of the way."
The rehab, she said, took months. But thankfully, she added, the painful memories of last year's championship were more than erased as she stood on the winner's podium with Chin.
Other standout performances included Laube's 8.350 on bars; St. John the Baptist's Teresa Crisci's Yurchenko tuck earned her first place on vault with an 8.800 while Holy Trinity's Taiya Taylor earned a 7.950 on her tenacious beam routine.
Chin led the way in both floor and beam, where she earned an 8.400, thanks, partially to the side aerial she picked up this season as a second-year Level 9. She received an 8.750 on vault and a 8.300 on bars, both good for second place.
Floor, though, was where Chin showed her chops. Her first two passes were composed of a roundoff, layout, back-handspring, back tuck and then a back-handspring full -- a landing that had her body contorting in the air.
"I think this is the best I've ever done," she said, receiving a hug from Notaro. "I'm just so happy!" Notaro added as they practically floated on air with glee.