Gymnasts good to go

Gymnasts: Sophie Wenzlau (front center), Liz Annis (back left), Lauren Fleming (back center) and Marie Welsh (back right.) - JULIE BUSCH photo
Gymnasts: Sophie Wenzlau (front center), Liz Annis (back left), Lauren Fleming (back center) and Marie Welsh (back right.)
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

Marie Welsh is going for all-around; Hallett, Olson are favorites as well.

The rotation at the 2A/3A state tournament at the Tacoma Dome – floor, vault, bars and beam – is the same one the Spartans followed last year en route to a state title.

But their loss to West Seattle at the Metro tournament negates any chance of Bainbridge defending its crown.

Coach Cindy Guy said the Spartans won’t be down about it.

“They’re all motivated and upbeat,” she said. “They know how they want to do. They don’t seem tired. They’re happy to be going. Other than the fact that we don’t have a team going, it feels pretty good having four kids at State.”

Marie Welsh qualified for the all-around title and will be ready to go. She finished third overall as a freshman last year, but has competition in West Seattle’s Nina Fogle and Chelsea Wirchem, along with Mercer Island’s Kelsey Ingram, Issaquah’s Kara Chin and Newport’s Kendra Miller.

“It’s the icing on the cake,” Welsh said. “That’s what my club coach always says (about the state tournament). You’ve made it this far. State’s just what you can prove. There’s nothing you have to qualify for.”

“Metros and Districts are more nerve-wracking for me,” said Sophie Wenzlau, who is making her second straight appearance at State by qualifying for the floor, bars and beam. “It’s either you can keep going or you can stop. At State, it’s just go out and do your best.”

But there is pressure, as Wenzlau and Welsh compared it to club gymnastics.

“It’s a more intense atmosphere,” said Wenzlau. “But it’s really fun. It’s exciting.”

Welsh and Wenzlau, both on the Spartan cheer squad, will head from the tournament straight to Bellevue to cheer at the boys and girls tournament basketball games.

Lauren Fleming, who is making her first appearance at State in the vault and beam events, said she is nervous, but excited as well.

“I’m a little bit nervous on beam, but there’s really nothing to it,” she said.

Liz Annis, a senior, qualified for the vault. Last year, she made her first trip by qualifying on the floor.

“I’m very excited,” she said of her last go-round. “I’m not nervous at all.”

Neither is Guy.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said, adding that she is friends with many of the coaches and judges at the event. “From what I’ve heard from them, they know what it’s like to get to State and they want to go back next year.”

The team and all-around scores were decided yesterday. The individual finals start at 12:20 p.m. today.

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