No Welsh, no problem for BHS gymnasts

Sophie Wenzlau wins the all-around title vs. Nathan Hale despite a bad back.

The Bainbridge gymnastics team proved they’re more than just Marie Welsh.

With their star performer out with a toe injury, Sophie Wenzlau battled a bad back to place first in the all-around competition Friday as the Spartans defeated Nathan Hale 172.87-146.56 for their 81st victory in a row.

Wenzlau scored 35.67 points on the strength of a third-place finish in the vault competition, first place on the bars, second on the beam and a first-place score of 9.57 on the floor, an excellent routine that added some twists – pun intended.

“I did a layout half twist that I used to do in club gymnastics,” she said. “But I haven’t been practicing it this year, so I thought I might try it (in my routine) and see how it went and it worked.”

“She pulled out a beautiful routine,” co-captain Elizabeth Annis said.

It worked despite a painful back that several times nearly forced Wenzlau to withdraw from the meet. She won the floor routine after deciding to go for it only at the last minute.

“We’ve got a lot of injuries, but we’ve got some tough girls,” Annis said. “We’re just going to go out and do it no matter what.”

Bainbridge also got fine performances from Annie Zuckermann, who finished second in the all-around competition with a score of 34.25, and Lauren Fleming, who finished third with a score of 34.1.

Zuckermann finished first on the beam, fourth in the bars and fifth in floor. Fleming tied for fifth with Kathleen Callahan in the vault, and took third on bars, fifth on beam and third on the floor.

Callahan, Emily Basile and Annis rounded out the scoring with their fourth-,

fifth- and sixth-place finishes, respectively.

Callahan’s highest finish was second on the vault and the bars. Basile’s highest finish was third on the beam, while Annis finished first in the vault and second on the floor.

Annis said the week after winter break helped the team get their routines in order.

“We worked on skills and our vaults a lot,” she said. “We worked on putting more twists on our vaults so that helps our scores.”

With another victory and their highest team point total so far this season, it’s a good sign the Spartans are ready for the postseason.

“We really didn’t know what to expect this season, but we’ve been having fun,” Annis said. “So far it’s been a good run.”

Bainbridge hosts North Kitsap, Capitol, Sehome and Olympia in a five-way meet Friday at 6 p.m.

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