TACOMA – It wasn’t even what Stoyan Katzarski would call “the year.”
But when you have an up-and-coming bright light like Alana Norman leading the way, even rebuilding seasons can prove successful.
Shadle Park discovered just that over the 2009-10 gymnastics season, finishing the year with its best team score yet at the Class 3A/2A state meet at the Tacoma Dome Convention Center.
The Highlanders combined total of 158.05 not only eclipsed the 154.3 it took to win the district crown, it put Shadle in fifth place overall among the eight qualified teams on Friday.
“We’re very happy,” Katzarski said. “That’s the goal – to have your best meet at the last meet. And that meet is the state meet.”
The Highlanders were fifth behind surprise winner Auburn Mountainview, which outscored defending 3A/2A champ Columbia River on the final rotation to win the school’s first-ever state championship with 169.0 points.
The Chieftains were second at 167.1.
The Lions trailed defending champion Columbia River, 130.375 to 123.6 heading into the final rotation after five Auburn Mountainview competitors fell off the balance beam in rotation three.
“Wow,” Lions coach Jayme Hostetter said. “I actually thought we had lost after the beam.”
Norman, like the Shadle team, also grabbed a fifth place on Friday – in the individual all-around competition. Norman scored 36.625 points, which trailed state champ Taisha Duran’s score of 38.05.
“I think five is my lucky number,” said Norman, who also finished fifth in the all-around in 2009. “I got beat by Nos. 3, 2 and 1 last year, too. But this is their last year. They’re all seniors.”
With that many seniors graduating, Norman said it has her thinking about a strong move up in the all-around standings one year from now.
“She’s building it,” Katzarski said of his budding star. “She’s very consistent. She likes it. And now she’s becoming a good leader.”
The regional-champion Mead Panthers began well, scoring 42.6 points in their first rotation – the vault. But Mead still already trailed Woodinville by five points after the Falcons, who won their fourth consecutive state team title, dropped a 47.6 total on the floor exercise, finishing with a 181.1.
Mead finished third out of the four qualifying teams with 167.275. The Panthers’ Catie Pratt was eighth individually at 35.975.
Woodinville senior Hailey Wells posted the meet’s best score right out of the gate – a 9.725 on floor – as she added the 4A all-around title to the Falcons’ stash of championships. Wells, who was second a year ago in the all-around, scored 37.9 points to beat runner-up Sam West of Todd Beamer (37.075).