Nall wins All-Around

Brooke Nall knew she’d do well at the 3A State Gymnastics Championships.

She just didn’t realize she’d do this well.

The Bainbridge High School junior captured the all-around state title on Friday at the Tacoma Dome, and tied for first place on floor and vault in Saturday’s individual event finals.

“It’s surprising,” Nall said. “You know you might do well or be in the top three, but you don’t expect to be the champion.”

Nall scored 37.725 points, beating out Kennedy freshman Anissa Madrid’s 37.6 and Kendra Miller’s 36.65.

Her first-place finishes on floor and beam, and runner-up positions in vault and bars secured Nall’s first-ever state title in the all-around. She placed fourth overall in last year’s state competition.

Saturday’s beam routine looked like it was going to be an impressive affair, as Nall practiced front-tuck mounts over and over in warmups -- a tucked front-flip from a springboard onto the beam that she’d never before performed in competition.

“I made a bet with her,” assistant coach Lorry Gilbreath said. “If she made it, she’d have to throw it every single meet for the rest of her high school career.”

But, the move just didn’t come together, and Nall pulled it from her routine.

“My warmups really weren’t too good,” Nall said of the mount. “So I decided not to risk it.”

Her standard back handspring to back flip also didn’t work quite right on Saturday, and the fall from the beam dropped her a few points.

Friday’s first-place beam routine netted Nall a 9.55, but her score of 9.075 landed her in ninth overall in individual events. The junior was consistency exemplified in her floor routines though, with 9.65 and 9.675 scores. The latter score tied her with Madrid for co-champion honors Saturday.

“You have to put a little more into the second day,” Nall said. “You’re competing with the best.”

Nall was most pleased with her first-place position in the vault -- tied again with Madrid. Her usual Tsukahara, despite tumbling backward on the second vault, still earned Nall a 9.35 -- and she was all smiles, even after the fall.

“It’s never been my strongest event,” Nall said, despite the fact that the difficult Tsukaharas are still not often seen in womens prep gymnastics.

On bars, Nall scored a second place 9.175 on Friday, and Saturday’s finals brought a 9.15 for fifth overall.

Nall will continue working with her club team at Trek Gymnastics during the off-season, and has plans to attend a three-week gym camp in Texas over the summer. But she’s not too concerned just yet with next year’s competition, specifically the up-and-coming Madrid and Kennedy’s Kim Merlich.

“I won’t really start looking out for them until the season starts next year,” Nall said.

Spartan senior Dana Cuykendall also had a banner day, placing third in both floor exercise and beam in the finals, after qualifying Friday with seventh- and fifth-place finishes, respectively.

“It was one of the best meets I’ve ever had,” Cuykendall said. “The floor (score) was the highest I’ve ever gotten, club or high school. It was phenomenal.”

Cuykendall’s polished floor routine was its usual display of classic tumbling elements and graceful finesse. She improved upon her 9.375 with a 9.65 in the finals.

“After Friday, I talked with Brooke,” Cuykendall said. “I had a couple of leg separations on my tumbling and I didn’t want the judges to be able to take any points. I made sure that every toe was pointed.”

Cuykendall’s beam routine was the usual -- no flaws, no wobbles and a clean front layout dismount -- and the senior earned a 9.375 to finish third in the finals.

Cuykenall ended her prep gymnastics career with the trip to state, as she will attend college next year -- most likely at Lewis and Clark -- to pursue environmental science or international relationships.

She has applied to the gymnastics senior nationals competition later this year in Texas, but is quite content with her accomplishments to date.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end it,” Cuykendall said. “I was so happy all day, I was ecstatic.

“It was a really good way to go out.”

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