When Kalie Cossette executed her beautiful tsukahara vault last Friday, Sidira Sisich positioned herself to read the judges’ score.
At the moment of truth, someone stood in front of Sisich just enough to block out one number on the scorecard. Sisich initially read “9.1” and thought she and Cossette had tied for the District 8-AAA vault title.
A further look revealed a missing “5,” as in “9.15”. Cossette had won another event for the powerful University gymnastics team. Sisich, who scored 9.1 with her handspring full twist - 9.2 is a perfect score for that move - finished second.
If Sisich, a Central Valley senior, should have felt devastated, she certainly couldn’t see why.
“A couple of summers ago I worked out with (Cossette) at Northwest (Gymnastics),” Sisich said. “It was kind of cool to see us both have our best vaults on that night.”
“For it to be so close, I was thrilled,” said CV coach Kim Brunelle. “If she’s going to be beaten on the vault, that’s a good one to lose to.”
There are Gymnasts and then there are gymnasts. Sisich would place herself in the second category.
She has always enjoyed the sport, but nobody ever put a label on her as the Greater Spokane League’s next best thing.
In fact, it was a bit of a lark when Sisich competed at the Jan. 25 Sehome all-around invitational in Bellingham. Sisich doesn’t enter GSL all-arounds and doesn’t consider herself an all-around gymnast.
Yet with little experience, against top competition, Sisich scored 7.9 on the balance beam and 6.5 on the uneven bars to go with solid scores in her usual two events, vault and floor exercise. Sisich’s 8.7 on the vault tied for first place, but the award went to someone with a higher all-around score.
“She should be in the all-around, but she can’t because of the makeup of my team,” Brunelle said of Sisich.
Sisich has no club-competitive experience, but she caught the gymnastics bug at one of Brunelle’s summer camps.
Coach and athlete have a tight bond that extends to the classroom. Sisich has served as Brunelle’s teacher’s assistant for three years. The two joke about Sisich, an A student, finding some way to flunk classes and return next year.
Sisich creates homemade cards for others on the Bears team.
“It helps to tell people, ‘Good luck, somebody’s noticing that you’ve been working hard,”’ Sisich said.
Saturday, Sisich will attempt to qualify for a third consecutive trip to the state meet at the Tacoma Dome. She accompanied CV’s qualifying team two years ago, then earned a berth in the vault as a non-team qualifier last season.
The year has been one of wear and tear because of torn ligaments in her ankle and a sore back. But Sisich doesn’t think of next weekend with relief.
“I can’t see my life without being at CV and doing gymnastics,” she said. “I would definitely like to come back some day and help (Brunelle).”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Region IV-AAA gymnastics Region IV-AAA gymnastics, 1 p.m. Saturday at University. Competing team: U-Hi, Ferris, Central Valley, Mead, Kamiakin and Hanford. Defending team champion: U-Hi (three straight titles). Defending individual champ: Kalie Cossette, U-Hi, vault. Top returning all-around scores: Lindsey Linerud, Central Valley, 35.225; Cossette, 34.975. What’s at stake: One team berth, two all-around berths (from non-qualifying teams) and seven berths per event (non-qualifying teams) to Feb. 21-22 state meet at the Tacoma Dome.
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