Gymnasts still tops after tie

The Spartan gymnasts carried their unbeaten record through Tuesday night’s home meet against Nathan Hale, with a pair of school records broken on beam by Dana Cuykendall’s 9.6, and only a few minutes later, Brooke Nall’s 9.8.

And though the team emerged undefeated Thursday night in Shoreline, it wasn’t quite the victory they were hoping for.

It wasn’t actually a victory at all.

For the first time in three years, the varsity team tied for first place, matching host Shorewood with 160.8 points.

“We were missing a couple of key kids, and we really didn’t have our best meet,” coach Lorry Gilbreath said. “There were a few errors that we know won’t happen again.”

The team was without Brittany Belt, and junior Carrie Kirkpatrick did not compete all-around due to a knee injury in Tuesday’s meet. But the rest of the Spartans picked up the slack.

Nall captured the all-around title with 34.9 points, while Cuykendall was a single point behind her teammate for second.

The pair anchored the varsity team with first place finishes on bars, beam and floor. The vault title went to Shorewood’s Lindsay Christianson only after Nall’s half-twist back one-and-one-half went long on her first attempt, and short on her second. The high difficulty rating kept her within one-tenth of a point of Christianson though, which was good for runner-up.

Cuykendall’s beam routine was practically flawless, as she nailed a pair of passes with back handsprings -- the first followed by a back walkover, the second by a clean wolf jump. Cuykendall also stuck her front layout dismount, which was punctuated by a barely audible but excited “yes!” from the senior, and a rush of teammates.

Nall went to work on the uneven bars, and her overshoot release transfer from high to low drew gasps from the Shorewood team, who were waiting to compete on vault. She ended with three back giants and a back layout for an 8.4.

“They both do optional routines, which are very difficult,” Gilbreath said of the pair on bars.

Nall and Cuykendall dominated the floor exercise, both successfully combining power with grace and a few spunky dance elements. Nall had an impressive 9.0 routine, and Cuykendall’s front-tumbling and fencing flourishes garnered her an 8.5.

“We just needed a tenth of a point to win it,” Gilbreath said. “That’s only one little wobble.

“Anybody could have won it for us.”

The team will compete in individual events today at the Issaquah Invite.

Team results -- 1 (tie) Bainbridge, Shorewood, 160.8; 3 Shorecrest, 139.5; 4 Sehome, 115.5; 5 Squalicum, 15.7.

Individual results -- Vault: 1 Lindsay Christianson (SW), 8.5; 2 (tie) Nall, 8.4; 5 (tie) Cuykendall, 8.1, Katherine Samstag, 8.1; 9 (tie) Emily Basile, 8.0; 13 April Newman, 7.8; 15 (tie) Lizzy Annis, 7.6. Bars: 1 (tie) Nall, 8.4; 4 Cuykendall, 8.0; 8 Kirkpatrick, 7.2; 9 (tie) Annis, 7.1; 12 (tie) Basile, 6.8; 16 Samstag, 6.3. Beam: 1 Cuykendall, 9.3; 2 (tie) Nall, 9.1; 5 Kirkpatrick, 8.5; 10 (tie) Samstag, 7.9; 12 (tie) Basile, 7.8; 17 Annis, 7.4. Floor: 1 Nall, 9.0; 2 (tie) Cuykendall, 8.5; 7 Annis, 8.1; 13 Wendy Tawresey, 7.4; 14 (tie) Samstag, 7.3; 21 Basile, 6.2. All-around: 1 Nall, 34.9; 2 Cuykendall, 33.9; 10 Annis, 30.2; 12 Samstag, 29.6.

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