Bainbridge gymnasts ready for Holy Names rematch

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Bainbridge gymnastics team enters today’s Metro League Championship uncertain of the outcome.

While Bainbridge has won eight of the last nine league championships, the road to the state meet goes through Holy Names, the squad that dealt the Spartans their first regular-season loss since 2002 on Jan. 8.

Only one Metro team will advance to the SeaKing District meet, and from there only two teams will go to state.

“Usually we don’t have any problem winning metros,” senior captain Katie Mathews said. “To get to districts (this year) you have to win metros. If we beat them at metros then we don’t have to worry about them the rest of the season.”

The team has used the loss as motivation.

“It’s important – especially for the younger girls – to learn how to lose and to know we're not invincible,” Mathews said. “We’re just trying to get more difficulty in our routines.

“We’ve got to work harder at practice. We know what the best looks like, and it might not be us right now.”

Holy Names scored 162.75 to Bainbridge’s 159.3

“I think it was kind of a wake-up call,” Weiss said. “We can’t coast anymore. We have to work for what we want to accomplish. It’s obviously emotional, but then again we know how much harder we do need to work to beat them at metros.”

Since the Holy Names meet, the Spartans have won their last three contests, and scored a season-high 161.975 against North Kitsap and Kinsgton Jan. 29.

The Spartans’ advantage tonight will be their depth.

“We have a lot of ex-club gymnasts who have been doing this forever – that really helps us even if we lose people, “ senior co-captain Laura Bricklin said. “We have two varsity girls who are hurt we have two varsity girls who are just as good ready to go. Holy Names has four or five girls. Enough for a team, but that’s it.

Bainbridge will compete without Anne Schwartz, who is out with ankle injuries.

Guy will depend on her upperclassmen – who have plenty of state experience – to lead the squad tonight.

"In a big meet it is a little bit reassuring to have some older girls because I feel like they can handle the pressure," head coach Cindy Guy said. "I think it's going to be a pretty strong lineup. We have lots of depth and we've been able to absorb Anne's points by other people stepping up."

Holy Names, which only had one gymnast last year, lacks a deep roster.

“We do have a lot of different event specialists because they have stronger events and we have a bunch of people who are strong in different events,” Mathews said. “More people get to compete – more people have a better chance.”

Holy Names will be led by sophomore Katie Rock, who placed first all-around Jan. 8, sweeping all events but the flour routine.

The loss has also pushed each gymnast to hold herself accountable to the rest of the team.

“We’ve gotten used to the fact that our team has such depth that we can mess up and someone else will just get a score so it doesn’t ultimately depend on us,” senior Talia Weiss said. “We kind of felt that way against Holy Names because they had a small group of girls and if one of the girls messed up, that’d affect their whole score. But if every one of us thinks that, everyone’s scores are going to drop. So we can't depend on someone else picking up our slack, we need to focus on every single person doing the absolute best they can.”

Bainbridge is also shooting for another season-best score tonight.

“I think since it’s not on wrestling mats we’re shooting for 162 or 163 which is what Holy Names beat us with,” Mathews said. “It’s a big push but if we stay on beam it’s not that hard.”

After the streak of 115 consecutive wins, the team hopes it unity and experience will be the difference tonight.

“I think with some of them, I was expecting a complete breakdown and it didn’t happen,” Bricklin said. “After the meet, a lot of the older girls, even if we didn’t show it, we felt something. I think everyone’s holding together fine and we’re looking forward to (Metros) when we can show them what’s up again.”

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