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Leachman skips way to crown
"For a bunch of small-town kids, some islanders certainly know the ropes.Ten Bainbridge girls competed in the national U.S. Amateur Jump Rope Federation Tournament at Walt Disney World in Florida, June 23-25.All brought home medals. And 15-year-old Brisa Leachman was named the country's top freestyle jumper in all age groups.I had a miss in the preliminary round, and took second, Leachman said. But the top three in each age group go into the finals, where everybody competes no matter what age they are. You start over in the finals, and I won.Leachman was competing as part of the Hot Dog USA team from Kirkland. Until last fall, she was a member of Bainbridge Island Ropeskippers, and was part of the four-jumper team that finished second in last year's world competition.My partner graduated, and our family is moving, she said. It's very difficult to get on the Hot Dog team. The coach knew me from last year's world competition. So when they had a vacancy and invited me to join last November, I did it.Leachman was a Bainbridge High School freshman last year, and is enrolled this fall in Eastside Catholic School, near her family's new home in Bellevue. She plans to try out for the national team that will compete in world championships in both individual and team events.Leachman's younger sister Kali, age 9, an Ordway Elementary student, placed seventh in the individual freestyle event for ages 9-11. She also jumps for the Hot Dog team.The Bainbridge Island Ropeskippers sent eight competitors to the tournament, and all finished in the top 10.The top finishers were Erica Dewitt and Betsy Tawresey, who won a gold medal in the pairs single rope freestyle event for ages 15-17. Dewitt finished eighth in the single-rope freestyle event for 15-17, and Dewitt teamed with Wendy and Betsy Tawresey for an eighth-place finish in the 15-17 double-dutch relay speed event.Vanessa Hurd and Katie Richards finished second in the 11-and-under pairs single-rope freestyle event. The two of them, along with Ali Maier, finished seventh in the double-dutch relay speed event for 11-and-under, and that trio was joined by Annie Johns for a seventh-place finish in double-dutch pairs freestyle for ages 11 and under.The foursome of Wendy Tawresey, Kelsey Laughlin, Jessica Nance and Carly Sanders took sixth in the 15-17 double-dutch pairs speed event.The Bainbridge Island Ropeskippers are coached by Shannon Dierickx. Amy Stavig coaches the Kirkland Hot Dog USA team."