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(The Review will be at the state meet providing live updates. You can follow reporter John Becerra Jr. at http://twitter.com/#!/birsports.)
Bainbridge gymnastics coach Cindy Guy said she’s glad they get to go to state as a team this year.
“We’ve achieved all of our goals,” she said, reading off the squad’s accomplishments: go undefeated in the regular season; win the Metro League title; and qualify for state as a team. “Now our last goal is to get a trophy at state.”
Guy is hoping to get back to the podium, but they will face stiff competition in Auburn Mountainview, Kamiakin, Enumclaw and Columbia River.
The Spartans will have Adrienne Palay back for the Friday night session at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall after she missed the district meet with an illness.
Palay said she’s still not feeling 100 percent, but she’s hoping to be close to it by the time competition begins.
Guy said the keys to performing well at state will be how they handle the beam event – the final rotation – and making connections on all routines.
“We had a two-point deduction on Anne’s (Schwartz) beam routine (at districts) and she had a no-fall (beam routine),” Guy said. “We’re solid on the other events, but the beam will be the key. But we tell them you can’t let the beam beat you, you have to beat the beam.”
The Spartans start their rotation on the floor, and Schwartz hopes they can perform well on it to help ease their nerves once they get to the beam.
“We’ve been working on beam a lot,” she said. “That’s the one event that can make or break us.”
Another key will be the experience that many of them have performing at state in previous years and making sure those who are listed as alternates are ready to go in case of an injury.
Guy said they will use Palay and Schwartz as anchors for all four events.
“That’s why I like having seniors,” she said. “They’re trustworthy.”
Both Palay and Schwartz have been on the team and performing at state since their freshman years.
Both say it’ll be the last time they’ll go out as a competitive gymnast.
“I was almost reluctant to do (gymnastics) this year because it’s a sport that’s really easy to get too old for,” Schwartz, who missed state last year due to an ankle injury last January. “You can do it for 15 years but then you have to stop, and I think my body is about at that point. But I’m proud that we can bust it out when we have to.”
Palay said she’ll continue coaching for the club team when she comes back from college on break.
“It would be really cool to get a trophy, but honestly, I think we’re mostly concerned with doing our best,” she said. “We just want to feel good about how we did. If we placed in the top three but we didn’t do well in beam, we wouldn’t feel as accomplished.
“So we’re just going to try and do as well as we can – that’s the main goal,” Palay continued. “And if we get a trophy, that would be pretty sweet too.”