Gymnastics takes second at state
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It was nearing the end of their day of competition. They were just behind the team that had beat them the week before and they had just finished their last event: vault. They stuck their landings, and they hoped the scores would reflect that effort. Otherwise, they would risk placing below the top three teams.
The Emerald Ridge Gymnastics team ended up placing second at the Washington 4A state competition at the Tacoma Dome Feb. 20, their second time placing at the state competition in the past three years.
“There was a lot more [pressure] than the regular meets,” senior Alyssa Armstrong said. “I think state was different because we were all super pumped about it and we were like, ‘Yeah, we actually made it as a team this year,’ so it was a lot more exciting to actually be there.”
The Lady Jags struggled early in the meet, initially taking third place. Their total score rebounded at the end, just enough to take the second place claim by beating Mead High School’s score.
“Vault was our last event and one of the girls, Kirsten Smith, did her sook vault and that’s when you do a roundoff, back tuck-off on the vault, and she ended up sticking it,” sophomore Brinlyn Herbert said. “It was kind of exciting for all of us, because we kind of knew that if she were to really do that vault well it would help our score a lot.”
In addition to scoring well at vault, the Lady Jags decided to start having fun and just do what they love.
“We were going to have fun. Once we got beam out of the way the nerves went away, so then at floor we were like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna go out and do our best,” senior Mandi Hovde said.
Most of the team members participated in multiple events during state.
“I competed on vault and floor,” Herbert said. “Floor [involves] a lot of tumbling and dance, leaps and jumps, and the in vault you basically just sprint and flip over the pommel horse.”
Armstrong participated in the all around competition at state, meaning that she competed in every category: vault, beam, bars and floor. Despite the pressure of participating in every event, she believes that it may actually be easier.
“But, on all four events, you have everything and you can mess up on one but still do great on the other three. It kinda depends on how you look at it,” Armstrong said.
The Emerald Ridge Girls’ Gymnastics team qualified for the state competition following a second place placement at the West Central District III meet Feb. 14.
The team came out on top in the South Puget Sound League 4A subdistrict meet Feb. 7 as the SPSL champion, beating Puyallup High School and Mount Rainier High School by a sizable five point margin.
To qualify as a team for state, the Lady Jags needed to place within the top three at the West Central District III meet, which they successfully did with a team total score of 166.025. They scored 41.05 on vault, 37.1 on the bars, 42.45 on beam and 45.425 on floor.
The team placed behind Mead High School and ahead of Mount Rainier in the district competition, beating out other top schools such as Olympia High School, Kentlake High School, University High School, Puyallup and Federal Way High School.
This success is part of a three-year streak from the Lady Jags. The team placed first at the 4A state competition in 2013 after an undefeated season. The team hoped to have a repeat last year, but lost the final qualifying spot to Mead. Still, five ERHS girls went on to compete at the state tournament as individuals.
The team has held the title of SPSL champion since 2012.
With hopes of doing well again next year, the younger members of the gymnastics teams already have plans to keep practicing and strengthening their skills.
“Well, I’m going to be doing classes at the YMCA so [that] I can keep all of my skills and improve, and then basically just stay in shape,” Herbert said.