Sports

Gymnastics team takes home the trophy

Island sports fans who glanced at the headline in Sunday’s Seattle Times received a rude shock. “Gymnastics: Ballard wins first Metro League title,” it said.

The truth – which was accurately reported in the accompanying story – was that the BHS gymnastics team easily won the school’s first Metro League trophy in Saturday’s competition at Ballard, finishing with 172 points to the hosts’ 155.1.

But given that Bainbridge was ignored during the awards ceremony the two previous years – after being forced by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to compete in the Metro League tournament – it wasn’t surprising that the team’s championship in its first year as a Metro school would also come with a glitch, albeit of the typographical variety.

“It was nice for the kids to finally go up and get their medals,” said coach Cindy Guy. “But I still don’t think that the other Metro schools are that thrilled about having us there.”

Senior Stephanie Hylen, who had been snubbed after winning all-around one of those two years, added, “It was really cool to get the championship trophy. What happened before made us even more proud of winning it.”

“We had such a good beam routine at Metro,” she said. “It was almost like magic. We all stuck it and kept feeding off each other.”

“After we did six no-fall beam routines, I knew we would have a great meet,” said Guy. Three girls – Dana Cuykendall (9.15), Hylen (9.0) and Brooke Nall (9.1) – scored above nine.

Guy was also excited about the overall score. “One-seventy-two is a great score on wrestling mats,” she said.

It was also a great score because the team competed less than 48 hours after losing Carrie Kirkpatrick, who suffered an apparent torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice on Thursday with her club team. Her absence put additional pressure on the other girls.

“I’m really proud of the whole team,” Guy said. “They did everything we asked of them. We needed Brittany to have a good meet as our No. five, and she had a great meet. And Brooke (the team’s other freshman) really handled the pressure well.”

So well, in fact, that she was the team’s top finisher in all-around competition, leading a sweep of second through sixth places.

Next up is Saturday evening’s regional meet at Sammamish High School.

“I’m really nervous,” Hylen said. “This is my eighth year in gymnastics, and I’ve never been as intense as I am this year. I’ve gone to state six years as an individual in club and high school. But it’s so much different if you go as a team.”

The team is in the very competitive District 1-2 regional. Every year four 3A teams qualify for State, two from 1-2 and one from Districts 3, 4, 5 and 7 with each region getting an extra berth every other year. Unfortunately, this is the year that the other region has the “floating” berth, so the Spartans will compete with Issaquah, Sammamish and Sehome for the two berths.

“We’re still really motivated,” said Guy. “We know that we have room to improve. So we’ll work hard all week, cleaning up the bars, tweaking our vaults.”

And hopefully, providing Guy with her first state team in her 22 years of coaching.

Metro results:

All-around: 1, Rutchik, Ballard, 36.675; 2, Brooke Nall 35.35, 3, Dana Cuykendall 34.6, 4, Stephanie Hylen 34.5, 5, Emily Roche 34.475, 6, Brittany Belt 33.1.

Vault: 2, Nall 9.05, 3, Hylen 8.85, 4, Roche 8.8, 5, Cuykendall 8.75. Also: Belt 8.45, Lizzy Kidd 7.6.

Bars: 2, Nall 8.35, 3, Belt 8.15, 4, Roche 8.1, 5, Cuykendall 7.95, 6, Hylen 7.75. Also: Alison Kramer 6.8.

Beam: 1, Cuykendall 9.15, 2, Nall 9.1, 3, Hylen 9.1, 5, Roche 8.925. Also: Belt 8.2, Kramer 7.6.

Floor: 2, Nall 8.85, 3, Hylen 8.8, 4, Cuykendall 8.75, 5, Roche 8.65. Also: Belt 8.3, Nicole Bemis 7.85.

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