Gymnasts stick to the routine

The Spartan gymnastics team just passed the midway point of their season, and Cindy Guy is already counting down to the Feb. 5 league championship at Nathan Hale High School -- only 19 practice days and five meets to go.

The calendar might be the single tangible thing the head coach can rely on.

“We’ve had setbacks because of the weather, kids have been sick and we haven’t had enough quality time in the gym,” Guy said. “The snow kind of decimated everyone. There were heating problems the other day, and it was so cold in (the gym). I’m stressed out.”

Despite the minor glitches, the Spartans are still undefeated -- which is right where Guy wants to be, stressed or not.

Their 3-0 record is actually 5-0, but she’s hesitant to count a pair of meets that the West Seattle and Chief Sealth teams didn’t show up for.

The depth of the Spartan team, anchored by senior Dana Cuykendall and juniors Brooke Nall and Brittany Belt, will be tested in the coming month with meets against Shorewood and Shorecrest, and team state champion Issaquah on Jan. 17.

But Guy is confident the squad will continue to improve, and routines will fall into place over the next four weeks.

“We peak in the end of January or early February,” Guy said. “I think we’re right on track for where we need to be.”

The Nathan Hale/Ingraham meet mid-December saw strong performances from Nall, Cuykendall and Belt, and Guy noted an impressive showing by Emily Basile.

The junior varsity team competed at Shorewood High School Thursday night, and despite ten scratches on Guy’s meet sheet, the JV Spartans held their ground.

April Newman took first place in the all-around with a score of 23.9, while freshman Andrew Mosley vaulted to first with an 8.0, and Christina McCrudden, in her first meet since Dec. 4 due to illness, took the top spot on bars with a 6.3.

“For everyone being nervous and only having one practice day this week,” Guy said, “I’m proud of all of them.”

“We’ve just got to work on our beam routines,” Guy said. “We need to have no falls, and our bars and floor scores need to get back up there.”

On the varsity side of things, the coach continues to push for consistency, and the much-needed depth of a full, healthy team to build on last year’s 13-0 season.

“Brooke and Dana and Brittany have been really solid,” Guy conceded. “But we need a complete team. We need all of the top varsity kids to get us there.”

Cuykendall, who has been plagued by a nagging back injury, is looking better, said Guy. And Nall, who bolstered the Spartan effort in capturing the Metro League title last year by sweeping all four events, is in the hunt to improve upon her second-place all-around finish at districts.

“We don’t get seeded or anything like that,” Guy said. “But through coaching friends, I’ve heard that we’re probably in the top four or five at state. We’ll get there.”

JV Results, Thursday at Shorewood: Vault -- 1 Mosley, 8.0; 3 A. Newman, 7.4; 4 Rosabel Newman, 7.3. Bars -- 1 Christina McCrudden, 6.3; 2 (tie) Jessica Dunlap, A. Newman, 6.2. Floor Exercise -- 3 Dunlap, 6.7; 5 A. Newman, 6.1. All-Around -- 1 A. Newman, 23.9.

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