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Tuesday, February 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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University High gymnasts made it to postseason on hard work and are fine-tuning in bid for state tourney

University High School gymnasts and team co-captains Shaunay Garcia and Demri Oglesbee pose for a picture at practice Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
University High School gymnasts and team co-captains Shaunay Garcia and Demri Oglesbee pose for a picture at practice Monday, Jan. 30, 2017. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

For the next week, they will contemplate their toes in the University High School gymnastics practice room.

The team has worked hard to achieve its goal of qualifying for the state 4A tournament.

The regional meet is the first postseason step toward that goal, and the team has had two weeks to prepare.

“We’re focusing on fine tuning,” senior team co-captain Demri Oglesbee said. “We’ve already beaten the teams we have to beat to get to state, so we just have to do what we’ve done before. But U-Hi hasn’t gone to state as a team in all the time I’ve been here.

“When you get to this point in the season, it can all come down to one little thing – one toe point can mean the difference between going to state and not.”

Co-captain Shaunay Garcia said the team is “really outgoing and determined,” with many members having been involved in club gymnastics.

“Even though our teams in prior years have had the same level of experience, there’s something different about this group,” Garcia said.

Club gymnastics is one thing, both captains say, but competing as a team makes the whole process more exciting.

“In a lot of ways, we’re like a family,” Garcia said.

Oglesbee started gymnastics when she was 4 years old.

“When you do club gymnastics you’re really only focused on yourself and your own routine,” she said. “I don’t remember ever thinking about how my team was doing during a meet.

“This is so much more fun. I love doing my floor exercise or some other routine and seeing my teammates there pulling for me. That makes it special.”

Now that the postseason is here, the team is locked into its routines.

“Our focus is so much better right now,” Garcia said. “Our coaches are helping us, but all of our girls will help each other and point out things that we need to work on.”

Echoed Oglesbee, “We take those parts of our routine that we need to work on and concentrate on that. For me, I’m concentrating on my bars routine.”

It helps that U-Hi coach Tracy Duncan is a top-level judge when she’s not coaching the Lady Titans. Her expertise in what judges will look for adds a sense of urgency to the fine-tuning process.

“Our coaches give us a list of things that we need to concentrate on,” Oglesbee said. “That really helps us get ready.”

“Right now our focus is so much sharper, we’re looking at those little things,” Garcia agreed. “The workouts are definitely getting more intense.”

The four-event rotation for the regional meet will be vault and bars followed by balance beam and floor exercise.

“I think everyone is glad floor exercise comes last because I think that’s everyone’s best routine,” Oblesbee said.

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