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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State gymnastics: Mead finishes fourth in team scoring as Camas runs away from field

By Terry Wood For The Spokesman-Review

BELLEVUE – Posting the third-highest team total at a state meet, 184.825 points, since the current scoring system was adopted in 1978-79, Camas rolled to a second straight State 4A gymnastics title Friday night at Sammamish High School.

Mead, with 172.45, posted its highest score of the year and finished fourth. Woodinville, edged out of first place by Camas by 1.075 last year, again came in second with a score of 179.85, followed by Newport of Bellevue (176.2), Auburn Riverside in fifth (172.4), Rogers of Puyallup (170.95), Puyallup (169.675) and Auburn Mountainview (163.4).

“We came in with the goal of being as good as we have been,” Mead coach Laurie Chadwick said. “We were clean, though we had to count a few falls on beam. But overall, we performed well as a team. You always hope for more, but we have a good, solid team.”

Senior Sophia Shawen tied for fourth on floor exercise with a score of 9.575 and qualified for Saturday’s 4A individual event finals. Senior teammate Lexi Weller did the same by placing 10th on vault (9.3) and 16th on floor (9.425). Alexandria Thomas and Maile Rocha of Ferris both qualified on uneven bars, Thomas finishing seventh overall (9.225) and Rocha 11th (9.075).

Allina Helbling of University tied for second on balance beam (9.475) and 12th on floor (9.475) also qualified to compete for individual titles in those events.

Three Mead gymnasts earned a few moments with the team’s “stick sash” Friday night, a motivational idea hatched by volunteer team aide Heidi Bjerkestrand.

Avoid falling on beam, then stick your landing? You get to wear the sash.

Freshman Delaney Fritz, sophomore Hannah Ford and senior Kate White all earned a chance to flash the sash.

“They look forward to it,” Bjerkesgtrand said.

Camas sophomore Shea McGee won the all-around title with 38.175 points, a career-best score that including a Yurchenko pike that earned a 9.75. McGee is one of four Camas gymnasts who trains year-round as a club gymnast while also competing for her high school.

Earlier, in the 3A/2A individual finals, Maddi Bughi earned the highest finish of three Mt. Spokane gymnasts in the four-event field, earning the third-place medal on bars.

Three Mt. Spokane sophomores, all competing at the high school level for the first time, claimed top-10 finishes on bars: Bughi (9.5), Gina Twenge (9.375, good for sixth place) and Hana Hill (9.15).

“My team did spectacular,” said co-head coach Dana Trantum, a former club coach in her fifth year at Mt. Spokane, a day after the Wildcats placed fifth in a tight 3A/2A title chase Thursday night in which the top five teams were separated by less than four points.

“We’re young,” she said. “These girls haven’t seen (state) before, and we’re just going to come back even stronger next year. I’m very proud of everything they did on individual events today. Hana fell on bars, and if she hadn’t she would have been first. I couldn’t ask them to do better.”

Hill tied for fifth on beam (9.425) and Twenge placed 12th (9.1). Hill took seventh on floor (9.475).

Trantum has watched the trio grow up for most of their lives.

“All three were mine when they were teeny, tiny toddlers in club,” she said. “Now that they’re with me as high school students, to see them together feels really special.”

Bughi competed with a sore right shoulder.

“She put in some more work to deal with the injury, which lots of gymnasts do, and she just dropped it on bars,” Trantum said. “She didn’t put in her toe hect (a low bar-to-high bar maneuver) yesterday to make finals, but she put it in today and she nailed it. We’re super proud.”

“I decided one more (routine) wouldn’t hurt it too much, so I might as well end the season with what I can do,” Bughi said. “I felt pretty good about it.”

Trantum anticipates better days ahead for Mt. Spokane gymnastics.

“We’ve got some girls who at first were hesitant to come to high school now coming down the pike,” she said. “Having coaches girls know and trust that we know what we’re doing has helped.”