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Spartans prove impressive at state gymnastics championships
Timing is everything, they say, and in gymnastics, it’s no exception.
The Bainbridge Spartans turned in solid performances at the 2013/2014 2A/3A Gymnastics State Championships, and Sarah Rice again medaled for BHS.
Rice claimed seventh place on the beam for Bainbridge with a score of 8.800. A junior, it was Rice’s third trip to the state championships and yet another year of finishing in the top 10.
Spartan Coach Cindy Guy said all four Spartans who went to state — Rice, Miller Shor, Juliana Hinkley and Mila Lesh — performed well.
“I was thrilled how all the girls did at state. They worked so hard,” Guy said.
“One of our goals has always been to peak at the post-season. We were really pleased that all the hard work paid off,” she said.
The state championships came during a week away from school for the Spartan athletes, as their midwinter break coincided with the week leading up to the gymnastics championships at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall on Feb. 21-22.
“They worked so hard all vacation,” the coach said of her athletes. “They were totally ready.”
In first-day all around results, Rice and Shor placed 18th and 37th respectively.
Rice scored 35.100, and Shor, 33.275.
Alexis Lawrence of Kamiakin placed first with 38.300.
In bars, Rice scored 8.150 and found herself in a three-way tie for 26th place with Amara Poquette of Mount Spokane and Hannah Walsh of Bellevue.
Shor tied at 53rd for the Spartans with Macy Cunningham of Holy Names after both finished with a mark of 7.075.
BHS’ Hinkley was 69th with a score of 6.775.
Kamiakin’s Lawrence won the event with a score of 9.500.
On beam, Rice scored 9.125 on the first day of the championships and found herself in 11th place.
Shor was 25th with 8.700.
Danielle Brandon of Kamiakin had the best first day score on the beam, 9.575.
In the floor exercise, Rice shared 19th place honors with Ellie Winstead of Kamiakin with a score of 9.300.
Shor finished at 59th with an 8.800, along with Christy Craigo (Kamiakin), Brianna Reisinger (Enumclaw), Brooklyn Popp, (Holy Names) and Sierra Hayden (Columbia River).
Kamiakin’s Lawrence was first in the event with a score of 9.725.
“The competition was unbelievable this year,” Guy said. She noted that it wasn’t a surprise, given what the Spartans had endured during district competition.
“We saw it coming out of KingCo schools that it was going to be tough,” she said, adding that Enumclaw and Kamiakin were packed with lots of Level 9 and Level 10 talent. “We knew they were good.”
In the first day of vault, Lawrence again put Kamiakin in first with a top-spot effort of 9.675.
Shor tied at 20th place with Megan Clark of Mountain View and a score of 8.700.
Rice finished at 26th for the Spartans (8.525) and Lesh placed 89th and tied with Brienne Palmer of North Kitsap (7.650).
Guy noted that Rice and Shor both put a lot of effort into their floor routines, and their scores reflected it, though they paid a price for their early appearances in the first session of the competition.
Rice’s 9.3 score was really high, Guy said, but floor scores also rose higher as the day progressed.
Still, there were other highlights for Bainbridge.
“Juliana [Hinkley] hit her bar routine and Miller [Shor] did a great vault. Sarah and Miller stayed on the beam,” Guy said.
“They both had shaky beams at district,” Guy said of Rice and Shor. “It was great to see them finish the season with a positive, clean routine and make all the skills they were supposed to,” she said.
Rice said she felt really good about her second-day performance on beam.
“It was definitely the best I’ve ever done on beam,” she said.
“It felt really good to have a really good beam routine,” Rice added, recalling her long wait to compete during the first session on Friday that left her “a little shaky.”
“We warmed up around 10 o’clock and I didn’t compete until 1. I was the fourth-to-last person to go,” she said. “It was pretty nerve-wracking.”
Rice said she hopes to return to state next year with her team. Another goal: to compete in all four events.
“I’ve never done that, so that’s a big goal of mine,” she said.
For Hinkley, also a junior at BHS, it was her first trip to the state championships.
“We did really well. We’ve been working really hard the past week before state, every day of practice. It paid off,” she said.
Hinkley said the entire experience, from the team’s overnight stay at a hotel in Tacoma to watching fellow Spartan Rice compete in the finals, was a thrill.
“It was just a really fun opportunity, just to be able to compete at the Tacoma Dome and to be with my teammates. It was a good team-bonding thing to go,” Hinkley added. “It was awesome.”
There was a bit of nervousness involved, she admitted.
“It was pretty intimidating for some of it, because there were some Level 10 gymnasts who were really good, and they were throwing really hard tricks,” Hinkley said.
Hinkley said she tried hard to maintain her focus during her bars routine.
“The hardest part was trying to remember everything you needed to do to make a perfect routine,” she said.
“Point your toes, point your toes.”
Hinkley said she hopes to improve over the next season and make a return trip to Tacoma.
“I saw some skills and said, ‘I need to have that,’” she added.
Guy said her team is already talking about a return trip to Tacoma.
“I know they are going to work hard in the off-season. The girls are really motivated for next year and they want to go as a team and compete for a trophy,” Guy said.
Getting back as a team would repeat the Spartans’ success from two years ago, when Rice and Shor were freshmen and Bainbridge placed third at state as a squad.
“They know what it’s like to get a trophy,” Guy said.
Kamiakin won the team title with top scores in bars (44.500), floor (47.375) and vault (45.475) and a total team score of 181.700. Last year’s state champions, Enumclaw, finished second with 178.425.
2013/2014 2A/3A Gymnastics State Championships Results
First: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 38.300
Second: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 38.050
Third: Olivia Bannerot, Enumclaw, 37.950
18th: Sarah Rice, Bainbridge, 35.100
37th: Miller Shor, Bainbridge, 33.275
First: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 9.500
Second: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 9.450
Third: Nykaela Dodson, Sammamish, 9.350
26th: Amara Poquette, Mount Spokane, 8.150
26th: Sarah Rice, Bainbridge, 8.150
26th: Hannah Walsh, Bellevue, 8.150
53rd: Miller Shor, Bainbridge, 7.075
53rd: Macy Cunningham, Holy Names, 7.075
69th: Juliana Hinkley, Bainbridge, 6.775
First: Danielle Brandon, Kamiakin, 9.575
Second: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 9.525
Third: Emily Berte, Enumclaw, 9.450
11th: Sarah Rice, Bainbridge, 9.125
25th: Miller Shor, Bainbridge, 8.700
First: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 9.725
Second: Oliva Bannerot, Enumclaw, 9.675
Third: Nykaela Dodson, Sammamish, 9.600
Third: Jen Rogers, Mount Si, 9.600
19th: Ellie Winstead, Kamiakin, 9.300
19th: Sarah Rice, Bainbridge, 9.300
59th: Miller Shor, Bainbridge, 8.800
59th: Christy Craigo, Kamiakin, 8.800
59th: Brianna Reisinger, Enumclaw, 8.800
59th: Brooklyn Popp, Holy Names, 8.800
59th: Sierra Hayden, Columbia River, 8.800
First: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 9.675
Second: Oliva Bannerot, Enumclaw, 9.550
Third: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 9.525
20th: Megan Clark, Mountain View, 8.700
20th: Miller Shor, Bainbridge, 8.700
26th: Sarah Rice, Bainbridge, 8.525
89th: Brienne Palmer, North Kitsap, 7.650
89th: Mila Lesh, Bainbridge, 7.650
First: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 9.575
Second: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 9.500
Third: Alaina Pier, Southridge, 9.400
First: Nykaela Dodson, Sammamish, 9.425
Second: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 9.350
Third: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 9.325
Seventh: Sarah Rice, Bainbridge, 8.800
First: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 9.625
Second: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 9.600
Second: Olivia Bannerot, Enumclaw, 9.600
First: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 9.725
Second: Kiya Bjorge, Southridge, 9.700
Third: Olivia Bannerot, Enumclaw, 9.650
First: Kamiakin, 181.700
Second: Enumclaw, 178.425
Third: Mount Si, 168.600