If there were any doubts University would win its fourth consecutive Region IV gymnastics championship, they disappeared early.
The Titans aced their floor routines, and the only questions that remained were how much they would win by and who would win the all-around.
That became more evident as the Titans had strong vault and stronger uneven bars routines.
Despite three falls on the balance beam, their final event, the Titans rolled up 175.05 points at U-Hi on Saturday afternoon, leaving Greater Spokane League rivals Ferris (169.20) and Central Valley (168.025) well behind.
With her best bar routine of the year - a 9.2 - Lindsey Brandle became the fourth Titan this season to win the all-around, leading a 1-2-3 U-Hi sweep.
Even with their dominance, the Titans were worried because only the top team advances to state in Tacoma next weekend.
“That made it more nerve-wracking going in,” said Kalie Cossette, the Titans’ only senior. “It put more pressure on, we couldn’t slide by.”
The top two in the all-around and top seven individuals in each event not from U-Hi move on.
In the all-around, Ferris’ Kacey Frederickson and CV’s Lindsey Linerud, who finished fourth and fifth, move on. They finished behind teammates Brandle, Cossette and Tara Hulbert, who won the all-around at district a week earlier.
“Actually, there were no surprises, I know these girls can do it,” U-Hi coach Stacey Heaton said. “I’m thrilled because they did some routines they haven’t been sticking in practice. (Before the floor), I was so nervous. Only one team comes out and Ferris and CV have been so close to us. After the floor, I knew. The energy carried us.”
The Titans had 45.6 points on the floor, more than a point better than Ferris. Hulbert led the way with 9.35 points, but four Titans scored at least 9.1.
Brandle became a factor in the all-around when she scored a 9.175 on the floor, an event she has avoided most of the year because of bad knees. However, the foam floor used at regionals allowed her to compete.
“I’ve done it all my life, I just couldn’t do it on wrestling mats because of my knees,” she said. “I just wanted to do a normal floor routine and not mess up.”
“Lindsey has been kind of sick this week, she missed two practices,” Heaton said. “I told her next week she’d have to miss two more. I was afraid she would run out of gas because she hasn’t been practicing, but she was strong to the end.”
Midway through her bar routine, Brandle hit a straddle back and broke into a big smile, and it became evident all the Titans would have to fall off the beam to lose.
Hulbert, who had the all-around in her grasp, fell twice on back hand springs but that gave the Titans a chance to show off their strength, which is depth.
And despite the falls, which dropped her score to 7.725, Hulbert matched her district-winning all-around score of 35.5.
Hulbert won the bars with a solid 9.5, the same league-high score she had in district. She also won the vault with an 8.925
Brandle took the beam with an 8.85.
Frederickson scored 9.45 on the floor to break U-Hi’s dominance. , DataTimes
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