TACOMA — The Columbia River Chieftains saved their best performance for the best meet.
By the end of the night Saturday, they were on the podium as fourth-place finishers at the Class 3A state gymnastics championships.
“I was crying because they did so good,” Columbia River coach Alicia Green said. “It’s the highest score we’ve had all year. That shows the progress and hard work that they’ve done.”
Columbia River scored 165.775 points to crack the top four. Enumclaw won at 181.050 and Kamiakin took second at 179.600.
The Chieftains feel they won, too.
“It was surprising. We really weren’t sure what we were going to do,” said senior Shaylan Hawthorne, one of two River athletes to qualify for Saturday’s individual event finals. “I’m very, very happy with the outcome.”
Green said going into state, she figured the top spots would belong to Enumclaw and Kamiakin. The next four spots were up for grabs. Columbia River entered the meet as the fifth seed.
“It shows that we came together at the last moment and pulled for each other,” Hawthorne said. “We did it for each other.”
Hawthorne advanced to the finals on the vault, scoring a 9.25, good enough for 14th for the day. The top 16 gymnasts in each event made finals.
Columbia River’s Haley Castro made it to the floor exercise finals with a score of 9.475, tied for 13th.
Prairie’s Lexi Bottomley will compete Saturday, as well. She had the 10th-best score on the uneven bars with an 8.725. She also qualified on the vault, scoring a 9.30, 12th-best of the day.
All scores are wiped out and all finalists begin with “new life” Saturday.
Kristen Rodal of Highline won the all-around competition with a 37.950. Her teammate Mia Alverez took second at 37.725. No Clark County gymnasts finished in the top 16 in the all-around.
Note: This story was updated with Bottomley making it to the vault finals, as well.
Class 3A state gymnastics
At Tacoma Dome’s Exhibition Hall
Team scores: Enumclaw 181.050, Kamiakin 179.600, Mount Si 169.125, Columbia River 165.775, Decatur 165.275, Highline 158.225, Sammamish 157.575, Holy Names 152.650.
All around champion: Kristen Rodal of Highline, 37.950.
Individual events (Top scorer, plus local qualifiers):
Vault: 1, Kelsey Jaquish (Kamiakin) 9.7; 13, Lexi Bottomley (Prairie) 9.3; 14, Shaylan Hawthorne (Columbia River) 9.25
Bars: 1, Olivia Bannerot (Enumclaw) 9.3; 10, Lexi Bottomley (Prairie) 8.6.
Beam: 1, Nykaela Dodson (Sammamish) 9.7.
Floor: 1, Kristen Rodal (Highline) 9.7; 13t, Haylee Castro (Columbia River) 9.475.