Sports

Spartan gymnasts best in state

Brooke Nall led the Bainbridge Spartans to their first-ever state gymnastics title Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, upending three-time defending champion Issaquah. The win capped an undefeated season for coach Cindy Guy’s squard, which captured all four team events to win the title.  - JESSE BEALS/Staff photo
Brooke Nall led the Bainbridge Spartans to their first-ever state gymnastics title Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, upending three-time defending champion Issaquah. The win capped an undefeated season for coach Cindy Guy’s squard, which captured all four team events to win the title.
— image credit: JESSE BEALS/Staff photo

Brooke Nall leads the way with an all-around championship.

A full weekend at the WIAA State Gymnastics Championships in the Tacoma Dome yielded top honors for Bainbridge High School.

The girls won their first-ever state championship, edging Issaquah, the defending champion three years running.

“We’re really proud of these girls,” assistant Lorry Gilbreath said. “They’ve had such fun together doing it. It’s a special group.”

A team effort was called for, and that’s what was delivered. From the procession at noon to the final tallies at 10 p.m., the girls worked their magic under the scrutiny of judges and competitors.

Yet the sporting atmosphere found the team cheering on opponents as well as teammates.

Senior captains shared duties holding down protective cushions for their performers.

The week before, Bainbridge managed to unseat Issaquah in the district finals, also the first time they’ve won that title.

Friday was their opportunity to make a statement about the quality of their team that goes beyond individual efforts and concerns.

They made history for the program, scoring 176.825 to best Issaquah, which finished at 172.325.

It also was marked by outstanding performances by senior Brooke Nall who took the all-around title for the second year, en route to helping the Spartans claim the championship trophy.

On Saturday, Nall returned to win individual titles on the bars and beam. But her first words were still about team.

“Winning as a team was our big goal,” she said, flush with medals around her neck. “It’s something we’ve wanted since my freshman year.”

Many of her teammates re­turned to support her through the individual competition on Saturday, and circled her on the Exhibition Hall floor.

Senior captain Beth Allen – the back of her team sweatshirt spelling out a special title, “Drill Sergeant Allen” – declared the accomplishments a team win.

“Our job all year has been to calm down the younger gymnasts and light a fire when we needed to,” she said. “It wasn’t hard at all. This is a fun group. This was a fun year.”

In individual competition, Nall drew the first routine of the day on the balance beam, where she scored a 9.60.

“I don’t really like to go first,” she said. “The judges don’t like to set the number too high on the first go round. But I did well and will live with the results.”

The 9.60 held up for first place there. She tied for fourth on floor exercises, with Brynn Stenslie of Hazen at 9.475. But she nailed a 9.225 on bars for the second day, holding off Stenslie and Liberty’s Kara Bennett. She finished fourth on vault with a 9.125.

“We deserve it,” said Nall of the team trophy. “We worked really hard for this ever since my freshman year.”

Holding all her medals in her hand, she added, “This just makes it even more fun.”

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