Sports

Gymnasts show Shorewood their stuff

fter completing a demanding floor exercise, Spartan junior Dana Cuykendall went on to a 9.1 performance on the blanace beam (above) to place second overall against Shorewood in the gymnastics team’s home opener. - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
fter completing a demanding floor exercise, Spartan junior Dana Cuykendall went on to a 9.1 performance on the blanace beam (above) to place second overall against Shorewood in the gymnastics team’s home opener.
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

With the requisite butterflies and anxious athletes, the Spartan gymnasts took the floor for their opening home meet Thursday night against Shorewood.

They came away with an impressive win to bolster them in their bid for the state championships.

Although some of the girls had competed in the Couples Classic meet last week, for others this was the first meet of the season – or of their lives. “It’s always kind of scary the first time,” said assistant coach Lori Gilbreath.

“Some of these girls haven’t competed before, and they did pretty well.”

Despite the absence of Brittany Belt – one of the Spartans’ top gymnasts – the Spartans won the evening with a team score of 160.75 to Shorewood’s 150.2.

Even more impressive, however, were the individual results, with the Spartans consistently occupying three of the four podium positions in every event.

Sophomore Brooke Nall swept every every contest but the beam, where she had some uncharacteristic trouble. As Gilbreath put it, a fall is “not really a normal thing for her.”

Junior Dana Cuykendall, who had a no-fall beam routine and a score of 9.1, added, “It hard going to the beam last. You’re pretty exhausted from the floor routine.”

Despite the fall, Nall’s scores of 8.9 (vault), 8.7 (uneven bars), 8.6 (beam) and an impressive 9.1 in the floor exercise were enough to also earn her the all-around title for the evening at 35.3 total points.

She was followed closely by Cuykendall, who secured second place with a score of 34.45. Third place was filled by Allie Hoffman of Shoreline (33.3). Bainbridge senior Emily Roach, who also suffered an unusual slip on the beam, rounded out the podium in fourth, only six-tenths behind Hoffman.

While not one of their toughest meets of the season, this is one of the favorites.

“We’re more friends than competitors,” Gilbreath said of the two schools’ coaching staffs, “and I think that trickles down to the girls.”

That camraderie lent a laid-back and supportive mood to the meet, with the evening’s mistakes bringing only smiles, determined efforts and encouragement from teammates.

Gilbreath believes the Spartans’ strong showing in their home opener bodes well for their upcoming meets.

“These girls are really excited for the season. They all work well together… they’re all positive and excited to be a team,” she said.

The gymnasts traveled to a meet against West Seattle and Chief Sealth yesterday.

The team’s next home meet is Jan. 10 against Nathan Hale and Ingraham, teams they’ll first face on the road Dec. 20.

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