Sports

Spartan tumblers dominate home meet

Chelsea Manhke competes on the beam at Tuesday’s meet against Chief Sealth. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Chelsea Manhke competes on the beam at Tuesday’s meet against Chief Sealth.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

Welsh wins all-around title, Wenzlau places third overall

Sophie Wenzlau has pain in her ankles, and her back suffers from overuse – or “too many back handsprings,” as she puts it.

But the Spartan gymnast isn’t stopping for anything.

“It’s not all that bad,” Wenzlau said. “I can work through it. We have a lot of injuries right now, but I know when I have an injury, it makes me more determined to work through the pain to try and pull through.”

That sums up the season for the Spartans: Neither injuries nor more difficult routines nor tough competition will keep the Bainbridge gymnastics team from staying out of the loss column. The Spartans defeated the West Seattle Wildcats 167.15-144.60 for their 78th win in a row Tuesday evening.

Marie Welsh won the all-around title with a score of 36.10. It’s her third straight all-around title win as she was first in all four events, despite an ankle injury from landing wrong on a practice vault before the meet. Her high score of the night was a 9.4 on the floor.

“They’re a little stressed,” Welsh said of her ankles. “But it happens. You just have to work through and forget about the pain if you want to compete and help the team.”

“She’s a really great competitor,” coach Cindy Guy said.

Wenzlau finished third to West Seattle’s Chelsea Wirschem with a 33.1 all-around score. Her highest score was an 8.55 on the floor, good enough for third.

Lauren Fleming and Kathleen Callahan rounded out the all-around results with their fifth and sixth place scores of 32.45 and 32.15, respectively.

Fleming’s highest finish was an 8.0 on the bars. Callahan tied with Wenzlau for third on the vault.

With the Wildcats coming in as one of the top teams in the Metro League and a threat to end the Bainbridge winning streak, Wenzlau said the Spartans had to step up their performance despite not having competed for several weeks.

“We all knew that West Seattle was aiming to beat us,” she said. “We felt like this was going to be a difficult meet, so we had to rise to the occasion, and I think we tried to do that.

“Even though we had a bunch of falls, I think we made up for it in other events.”

They also caught an unfortunate break when West Seattle’s standout tumbler Nina Fogle suffered a painful toe injury while performing on the bars, and withdrew from the rest of the events.

The Spartans topped their goal of 163 points for the meet, which was rewarded with hot fudge sundaes from the coach the next day.

“What we tried to do, and hopefully it showed, is to increase their skill level,” Guy said. “Our tumbling was harder and we tried to add more twists (to our vaults)”

The team also aimed to improve bar routines and floor presentation, which included a smile or two.

“I was really happy with the total,” Guy said.“I track the other schools and it puts us in the top three or four in state. I’d like to be in the top five and give the top dogs a run for the meets coming up.”

The Spartans traveled to Shorewood yesterday to face Shorewood, Nathan Hale, Shorecrest, Capital and Sehome. They return home to host Nathan Hale and Ingraham at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 in the lower gymnasium.

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