Gymnasts work for good routines, grades

Beth Allen stretches out on the balance beam during Spartan gymnastics practice recently. - JIM BRYANT photos
Beth Allen stretches out on the balance beam during Spartan gymnastics practice recently.
— image credit: JIM BRYANT photos

The goal is to tame the Metro League, and earn honors for top scholarship.

Going into her 25th year coaching at Bainbridge High School, Cindy Guy is optimistic about this year’s program, with seven returning with state experience.

With her select group preparing to open at home this Friday at 6 p.m., Guy shares two of her team’s goals for the season.

“We want to go undefeated, winning the Metro crown,” she says. “We want to win the state academic championships as well.”

They did it in 2002 when they placed second at state, winning the academic title as well as the sportsmanship award.

This year the Spartans bring in four freshmen who are solid all-around – Marie Welsh, Stella Wilson, Erin Shields and Sophie Wenzlau.

“All are really nice, work hard and will be able to contribute at the varsity level to our team,” said Guy. “We believe they will help us achieve our goals of the season.”

As the only sophomore competing, Katherine Samstag, a state-qualifying gymnast on vault last year, brings quite an accomplishment from last year.

Juniors include MaryKay Bergman, a hard-working varsity letter-winner in her second year on the team who does all the events except those on the floor.

Versatile letter-winner April Newman performs all events but beam, and has worked especially hard in the off-season, Guy said. Also displaying a solid work ethic, Rosabel Newman is preparing for vault and floor events, while Emily Basile competed in regionals last year in her events on beam, bars and vault.

“She’s a great competitor who will score well this year,” Guy said.

Elizabeth Annis is another all around gymnast who is very solid. Highly skilled, a dedicated worker and a letter-winner for two years, she adds team depth, having competed at the state meet in 2002.

The senior class includes two foreign exchange students, who Guy describes as “delightful.”

Stephanie Coutinho, of France, is new to gymnastics and is working on floor routines. Tea Miettinen, of Finland, focuses on vault, beam and bars.

The rest of the senior girls wear the extra weight of the captain’s epaulettes. All have been with the team the previous three years, and competed at both the regional and state tourneys.

Carrie Kirkpatrick competes on beam and bars, and occasionally on the floor. A great dancer and leader, Guy said, she scores very high.

Brittany Belt, is an all-around with three years of state competition. Very solid and highly skilled, her leadership is very important to the team.

Wendy Tawresey, limited at the outset due to a foot injury, will compete on the floor – or rather, off of it. With unique dance choreography, she leverages her jump rope experience to leap as high as anyone at State.

“These girls are our leaders,” Guy said. “(They) are more than any coach could ask for. We totally love them.”

Beth Allen, mostly competes on beam and vault. Another of those hard-workers, she has a really nice presentation in her routines.

The most familiar name on the squad is probably Brooke Nall, considered by many to be the greatest gymnast in Spartan history and owning every record.

Nall has been a state finalist three years running, as well as a Metro champion; she earned honors as 2003’s State All Around Gymnast, and won vault and floor last year.

She’s expected to rebound from a preseason injury, adding difficulty to every one of her events.

Not having lost a regular season meet in four years, the team goal is to repeat a clean sweep, take Metro again, which they’ve done five years running. They are pointing toward regional and state appearances again.

After hosting Sehome and Port Angeles this Friday, Bainbridge has seven home matches and is scheduled to host the Metro Championships on Feb. 3.

* * * * *

Gymnastics slate

Dec. 10 – 6 p.m., home vs. Sehome and Port Angeles

Dec. 15 – 6 p.m., home vs. Nathan Hale/Ingraham

Dec. 17 – 6 p.m., home vs. Shorewood

Jan. 11 – 6 p.m., home vs. W. Seattle/Chief Sealth

Jan. 15 – TBD, at Issaquah Invite

Jan. 18 – 4 p.m., at Nathan Hale/Ingraham

Jan. 21 – 6 p.m., home vs. North Kitsap

Jan. 25 – 6 p.m., home vs. Shorecrest/Mercer Island

Jan. 27 – 2:45 p.m., home JV Meet

Feb. 3 – 6 p.m., Metro League Championships at Bainbridge

Feb. 12 – TBD, Regionals at Sammamish

Feb. 18-19 – State at Tacoma Dome

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