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Spartans are all-around favorites
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
For Bainbridge gymnastics coaches Cindy Guy and Lori Gilbreath, that means a minor shake-up in the roster from last year, but another upbeat and promising season for their team.
Missing state as a team by one place last year a decision that came down to less than one-and-a-half points the Spartans were ranked in the top five for most of last season, setting eight personal and team records on their way to claiming the Metro League title.
That wouldnt leave much room for improvement except that all of those record holders are returning this year.
With some excellent holdovers, an influx of talent and a healthy roster, Guy is definitely looking ahead.
We have a lot of individual goals but our team goal is definitely to get to State, said Guy. ...I want to really focus on the team aspect.
Young and limber
This years team is predominantly young, with freshmen Elizabeth Annis, Emily Bastile Rebeka Sesbatian, Rosabel Newman, April Newman, Sammantha Maes and Kristen Kushler in the majority.
Sophomores Beth Allen, Brittany Belt, Brooke Nall, Carrie Kirkpatrick and Wendy Tawresey combine to take up all but five positions on the team.
Co-captains Allison Kramer and Emily Roche, along with transfer student Kirsten Hertz are seniors, while Marie Rasmussen and Dana Cuykendall round out the juniors.
The talent in this years team, however is spread for more evenly than the ages and thats what Guy and Gilbreath are counting on for success.
All of their top gymnasts are experienced in all-around competition, and that gives the Spartans the depth of a top contender.
Allison, Emily, Kirsten, Dana, Brooke, Brittany and Carrie are all awesome gymnasts, said Guy, and whats great is that Emily might have a great vault, and then next it might be Dana that has the best vault.
Its not always one kid that wins all the events all the time.
Guy also feels that history played a part in recruiting some excellent younger talent for this years team.
I think that because we were successful (last year), when the kids came to try out this year they were remembering how good it was last year, she said.
The historic move into the Metro League hasnt meant a lot to the Spartan gymnasts.
Although there are no significant contenders in the conference, the toughest teams in the state are still here in the Puget Sound area. Teams like Sammamish, Seahome, Issaquah, Newport and Kennedy are all described as tough, really tough by Guy.
Proximity unfortunately, doesnt mean they make it on the roster before they meet at the regional tournament.
A full schedule just now reaching all Metro opponents prevents such a preview.
Co-captain Emily Roche, herself a two-time State competitor, is optimistic about reaching the teams top goal.
Im not sure how all the rest of the competition is this year, she said, but I think if we all work hard, we can make it to State.
The first home meet for the gymnastics team is Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.