Gymnasts raise bar for success

"The goals keep getting higher for the Bainbridge High School girls’ gymnastics team.It’s a literal statement. Two years ago, longtime head coach Cindy Guy and assistant Lorry Gilbreath set the team’s standard at 140 judges’ points per meet. Last year, despite rarely meeting that mark, they lifted the bar to 145.And this season, despite losing some key competitors, the mark has been raised to 150.“I don’t know that we’re ever going to score 150, but I like to keep the girls working hard and aiming high,” Guy said. “We’re going to add a little more difficulty to our routines this year.”Gone from last year’s squad are graduated senior Paige Switzer, the Spartans’ lone representative to the state 3A meet. Gone also are two other top gymnasts in Jessica Chamberlin and Taylor Simmons.Back in the fold, however, is junior Amy Glover. As a freshman, Glover was Bainbridge’s sole entrant at state, scoring 8.05 in the vault event and just missing top-10 placement.Also joining the squad is sophomore Stephanie Hylen, a longtime Bainbridge Island Gymnastics Club standout.They join top returnees Ashley Callahan, who posted some of the Spartans’ top floor exercise and all-around scores as a freshman, junior co-captain Valerie Henshaw and others who posted top-six scores at various meets last year, such as Katie Beck and Christen Faltermeier.Other newcomers who may make an impact, according to Guy, include Emily Roche and Jacque Alonso – the latter of whom is a transfer student from the Chicago area.In a sense, Guy’s real challenge for this season has already been met – setting a schedule.It started with compressed practice times for the team, which has been caught in the sports space squeeze caused by this fall’s opening of the Sakai Intermediate School at the nearby Commodore Center.And it continued as Guy found that several of Bainbridge’s potential opponents, such as KingCo, Seamount and South Puget Sound League schools, had locked in their schedules long before she began drawing up hers.Other quality opponets, such as Sehome in Bellingham, are simply too far away to warrant a tiring road trip.So the slate is loaded with three meets against the only other West Sound schools to offer gymnastics – North Kitsap and Port Angeles – and the rest against unaffiliated Seattle schools.In all, Guy likes what she sees, likening this year’s Spartans to their 1997-98 counterparts.“We’re going to be a lot like we were a couple of years ago – we’ll have a lot of depth but maybe no great superstars,” she said. “I think we’re going to be really solid and competitive.”GymnasticsDec. 9 vs. Port Angeles/North Kitsap, 6 p.m.Dec. 14 vs. Shorecrest, 6 p.m.Jan. 7 vs. Nathan Hale, 6 p.m.Jan. 13 at Port Angeles/North Kitsap, 7 p.m.Jan. 20 at Shorewood, 6 p.m.Jan. 21 vs. West Seattle/Sealth, 6 p.m.Jan. 28 at Ballard/Ingraham, 4 p.m.Feb. 2 at North Kitsap/Port Angeles, 7 p.m.Feb. 3 at Couples Classic, ShorewoodFeb. 10 at Regional Meet, ShorewoodFeb. 17-19 State 3A meet, Tacoma"

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