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Sunday, January 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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University Takes Over At District

GSL gymnastics

University coach Stacey Heaton challenged her three best gymnasts to sweep Friday’s district all-around.

Watch out, gang. With Friday’s mission accomplished, Heaton has upped the ante to sweeping the top four all-around at region.

Heaton’s goal may not be far-fetched, because Lindsey Brandle is set to join Titans stalwarts Tara Hulbert, Kalie Cossette and Coleen Pierce in the all-around.

Sore knees have limited Brandle to no more than three events this year. But come next Saturday’s regional meet at U-Hi, when a foam block floor will be used for the floor exercise, Brandle will tackle all four.

Hulbert edged Cossette 35.5 to 35.425 for the District 8-AAA all-around title, but Brandle’s night at North Central was as impressive.

Brandle won the balance beam with a 9.5 after never scoring better than 8.9 in any Greater Spokane League meet. She added 8.7s in the vault and uneven bars, giving her an average of 8.97 per event. Hulbert averaged 8.875 in four events.

“Lindsey’s been struggling with the beam all year,” Heaton said. “It’s started to come around the last couple of meets. We’ve known it was there all along.”

Throw in Pierce’s third-place all-around of 34.7, and solid scores from Jennifer Lee and Alison McCullough, and the Titans piled up 173.375 points to easily win their fifth consecutive district title.

Ferris (167.7), Central Valley (166.25) and Mead (160.15) nailed down the other team berths to region, when the Big Nine Conference joins the competition for state-qualifying berths.

U-Hi won everything in sight except floor, the specialty of Ferris’ Kacey Frederickson. The Saxons junior, with the GSL’s top three marks this year, scored 9.25 with her flirty, upbeat routine.

“I’m glad I could kind of redeem myself after my bad (7.8) beam routine,” said Frederickson, who also had the league’s top two all-around scores heading into district.

Wins in the beam (Brandle’s 9.5) and uneven bars (Hulbert, also 9.5) were sealed early in the evening. Hulbert, a junior, also won the bars at district last year and had the three best marks in GSL meets this year.

Through three rounds, CV’s Lindsey Linerud had the top score, an 8.95, in the floor. Even U-Hi’s solid group couldn’t crack 9.0. Frederickson, however, sent Linerud into second place.

Defending district vault champ Morgan Fransk of Ferris took the early lead with an 8.8, but CV’s Sidira Sisich appeared in line to win with a season-best 9.1 during the third round.

U-Hi finished on the vault, with Hulbert and Cossette locked in a tight battle for the all-around title, although neither was keeping track. Hulbert, leading Cossette by .375, put up an 8.85 vault, still not good enough to catch Sisich.

Cossette, the last vault performer, achieved great height and landed solidly. Her 9.15 surpassed the CV leader but was just shy of Hulbert for the all-around.

“I think I came in with a confident attitude,” Hulbert said. “I pretty much hit everything but the beam (8.25).”

Hulbert had won just one all-around this year, also at NC. Still, her 35.75 at that GSL four-way was U-Hi’s top mark for the year.

Linerud and CV teammate Sarah Shryack scored 34.4 to tie for fourth in the all-around. Shryack tied for third in the vault and tied for fourth in the beam.

“The girls are going to throw other stunts at region,” Heaton warned. “It’ll be a dynamic meet, I think.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

Wordcount: 575

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