This year’s gymnastics teams at University and Central Valley high schools won’t be as good as the teams that finished one-two in league and placed fifth and sixth at state last year.
But they will be plenty good enough. Both bring back state placing athletes and the Titans, at least, will be the Greater Spokane League team favorite.
“It’s U-Hi by far. No one will touch them,” Bear coach Kim Brunelle said this week before a sophomore who would have helped make U-Hi unbeatable decided to concentrate on club gymnastics instead.
Losses through graduation also will be felt by both teams, limiting a bit their overall scoring ability.
“Right now we’re too young, although I think we have enough depth to stay in the top three,” said Brunelle.
The defending champion Titans were undefeated in the GSL last year, had a school-record team score exceeding 170 points and placed two individuals among the state’s top 10.
Six graduated seniors deprive the team of last year’s depth. Returned are three outstanding gymnasts, including the state placers.
“We’re definitely not as strong this year but we still have the top girls and will go to state,” said coach Stacey Heaton matter-of-factly.
University’s league championship competition will come from Ferris.
Skills improved for Titan trio
If the Titans don’t have the five-person depth to score 170 points, they have athletes who will likely go one-two-three against most teams.
“Ferris maybe has more depth but I know I have the highest two, if not three, all-around performers,” said Heaton.
Senior Kim Meyers, junior Kalie Cossette, both returning state placers, and sophomore Coleen Pierce are stronger now than they were at the end of the year.
“They are doing awesome things,” said Heaton.
Seniors Jen Repp, Kady Honeychurch, Denae Smith and Adrienne Mullenix will compete for top five positions.
Newcomers include sophomore club gymnast Tara Hulbert, currently nursing an ankle injury, junior transfers Dara Depping and Alison McCullough and sophomore Tanya Burroughs.
“Like last year they’ve set goals,” said Heaton. “They made us a winner last year and, if met, will make us a winner this year.”
Bears field young team
When Brunelle calls this a building year it doesn’t mean the team won’t be competitive. She measures it by how close she is to U-Hi.
The gap between the two Valley teams has likely widened because two key seniors graduated and one of her better athletes did not come out.
“It’s the first year I haven’t had kids strong up front right off the bat,” said Brunelle.
Still, with returning state placing sophomore Lindsey Linerud, five other veterans and a dozen incoming freshmen, the Bears should do fine.
“I’m conditioning the life out of them and looking forward to next year,” said Brunelle.
Back along with Linerud, are senior Heidi Hulett, juniors Sarah Shryack, Shelly Cunanan, Marisa Deehr and Sidira Sisich.
“Sarah broke a leg halfway through last season,” said Brunelle. “She’s down 20 pounds, up in strength and looks good.”
Newcomers who could fit in are freshmen Shannon Irving, Aundra Kadjzes and Leslie Meredith.
“It sounds like we’ll have two teams to state again,” said Brunelle. “We’ll battle Ferris for the other spot.”
And during a building year, no less.
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