Bainbridge’s Mariko Ronan won top all-around honors at the Spartans’ last home meet of the season. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

Bainbridge’s Mariko Ronan won top all-around honors at the Spartans’ last home meet of the season. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

Spartans edge HNA, Ballard in last home meet

That was close.

Really close.

The Bainbridge Spartans pulled off an amazing — and amazingly slim — win in their final home meet late last week in girls gymnastics by edging Holy Names by .9 of a point

That’s right: Bainbridge won by less than a point, taking first place with a team total of 174.7 points to Holy Names’ 173.8. Ballard finished in third place at last Friday’s meet with 170.85 points.

The victory avenged the Spartans’ only loss this year, to Ballard by two points in the first meet of the season.

“It was a great, great meet. We were so excited,” said Spartan Coach Cindy Guy.

“We worked so hard and the kids were a little nervous,” Guy said, going against some of the state’s top talent in gymnastics.

Plus, it was the final home meet for three Spartans: team captains Emma Chee and Alathea Pippinger, and Tate Goff.

Bainbridge started the meet with its best night of the season on vault.

“We hit the highest we’ve had all year,” Guy said.

Bainbridge’s Mariko Ronan tied Lianne Kistler of Ballard for first in the vault with a score of 9.

Lina Klinkenberg was fifth for Bainbridge in the vault with a score of 8.6.

The Spartans also took first in the uneven parallel bars.

Kati Cooper led Bainbridge with a first-place score of 9.1. Remi Rosencrans was third (8.9).

In fourth place, Kistler tied with Cait McNeill of Holy Names (8.7), and for fifth, there was also a tie between Ronan and Kaysa Lunberg of Holy Names (8.6).

Though the Spartans didn’t take first on beam, the team met its goal to have six no-fall routines. Sticking those routines, Guy said, earned the gymnasts a promised hot fudge sundae party.

Maria Gallivan won the beam event for Holy Names with a score of 9.25.

Ronan placed second for BHS with a score of 9.2.

That event also saw a pair of ties: in third place, Bainbridge Emma Chee (9.0) and Cait McNeill of Holy Names; and a three-way tie for fourth, between Karesse Pippinger (8.9), Ekiza Volk of Ballard and Elliana Beberness of Holy Names.

Ronan also scored big for Bainbridge in the floor exercise, finishing with a score of 9.4 in a tie for second place with Ballard’s Kistler.

The Spartans also improved its start values for not only the beam event, but also for the floor exercise.

“We had the highest start values — a school record — on beam,” Guy said, with a 7-of-10 finish.

On floor, it was even better: 10-of-10.

Ronan was the all-around champ of the meet, finishing with a total score of 36.2.

Cooper was fourth in all around (35.2), followed by Rosencrans in fifth (34.65).

At the end of the meet, the team’s three seniors, Chee, Alathea Pippinger and Goss were honored by their sister Spartans with heartfelt speeches and bouquets of flowers. The younger gymnasts stepped forward to talk about the trio’s kindness, leadership and inspirational personalities. The tradition is somewhat new, dating back just to last season, where the underclassmen offered tributes to their departing teammates. Guy said the coaching staff had prepared remarks to give, but decided they didn’t need to after hearing the girls talk about their senior Spartans.

“As they say in gymnastics, they nailed it,” Guy said.

“They have just been total assets to our school and our program,” Guy said of the three seniors.

The coach said the Spartans’ bond is strong, and something that’s heard at the end of every team cheer at every meet.

“They end every cheer with ‘Friendship!’”

“They are friends and whether you are a freshman or a senior everybody is connected,” Guy said. “They are such wonderful kids and they get along so well.”

Bainbridge will wrap the regular season this week against Ballard on the Beavers’ home turf.

Then, it’s on to the Metro Championship at Roosevelt High on Feb. 2, followed by the District 2 Championship at Sammamish High on Feb. 10.

“We feel really good about ourselves; we’re ready to go into the postseason and see what happens,” Guy said.

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