Columbia River fifth at 3A state gymnastics

Chieftains better their district title score during team competition

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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photoColumbia River’s Katie Zink competes on the bars at the 3A state gymnastics meet in Tacoma on Friday. She tied for 12th in the all-around and will be in the vault final Saturday.

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photoNicole Moss of Heritage competes on the vault at the 4A state gymnastics meet Friday in Tacoma.

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TACOMA — Kenzie Moxley figured it was time to forget about what could go wrong and focus on all that can go right.

Then she performed the best balance beam routine of her gymnastics career. At the state championships, no less.

Moxley, a sophomore from Columbia River, helped the Chieftains to a fifth-place team finish Friday at the Tacoma Dome's Exhibition Hall at the Class 3A state gymnastics championships. The Chieftains scored 159.500 points, topping their score they earned when they won the district championship earlier this month.

Katie Zink scored 35.475 of the points to finish 12th in the prestigious All-Around competition for the Chieftains.

The most surprising performance from the Chieftains came from Moxley. Her 9.25 on the beam also qualified her for Saturday's individual event finals.

"I haven't been going up there with confidence like that," Moxley explained. "I just realized I had to let it go and whatever happens, happens."

She caught herself smiling in the middle of her routine when she landed one of her most difficult moves.

Still, after her performance, she was not sure of her score.

"With the judges being really hard, I didn't even know what to expect," she said. "I knew in my heart I did really good."

Then her score flashed.

"I wanted to cry, I was so happy," she said.

Moxley was one of four Class 3A Clark County gymnasts to qualify for finals. Zink will compete for a state title in the vault. On bars, Megan Clark of Mountain View and Lindsey Willis of Prairie made it to Saturday.

In the 4A meet Friday night, Nicole Moss of Heritage finished sixth in the All-Around and was the only athlete from Clark County to make it to individual finals.

Moss soared to a 9.6 in her last event of the night, the vault.

"I definitely did my best. I tried my hardest, and it paid off," said Moss, who knew going into the vault that she had not made finals in her other three events.

"I really wanted to qualify in something."

Her 36.425 points were more than she scored at regionals last week, so she was pleased with her numbers.

The vault score caught her off guard a bit, though.

"I was like, 'Whoa!' Wow. What a way to go out," she said. "It was cool."

Union's Jamie Nolta, a senior in her first year of high school gymnastics, finished eighth in the All-Around with 35.575 points. A consistent performer, Nolta was a bit unlucky, finishing 10th on the vault and the beam. The top eight gymnasts in the 4A meet advanced to finals.

Columbia River was the lone Clark County team to make it to state, the program's 17th consecutive appearance in the team competition. The goal this year was to make it to Tacoma. The rest, coach Alicia Green said, was icing on the cake.

Then River finished fifth in the eight-team competition with a better score than district. The Chieftains were thrilled.

"We did exactly what we wanted to do," Green said. "Come to state, keep our momentum going. The scores reflect that."

She said this was a "No regrets" meet for the Chieftains.

"We are very happy for the girls."

Kamiakin won the Class 3A team title with 181.700 points. Enumclaw, at 178.425, was second. Alexis Lawrence of Kamiakin won the All-Around title at 38.300.

Woodinville won the 4A team title with 180.475 points. Newport was second at 172.975. Marisa Savage of Woodinville took the All-Around crown with 37.950 points.

The top 16 3A girls in each event made it to finals.

Saturday's competition starts fresh. Scores from Friday's qualifying do not carry over to the finals.

Class 3A state gymnastics championships

at Tacoma Dome’s Exhibition Hall

Team scores: Kamiakin 181.700, Enumclaw 178.425, Mount Si 168.600, Decatur 164.000, Columbia River 159.500, Lake Washington 157.550, Holy Names 157.375, North Kitsap 154.825.

All-Around champion: Alexis Lawrence, Kamiakin, 38.300

Local placer: 12 (tie), Katie Zink, Columbia River, 35.475.

Locals qualifying for Saturday’s individual event finals:

Bars — Megan Clark, Mountain View, 8.675 and Lindsey Willis, Prairie, 8.525

Vault — Katie Zink, Columbia River, 8.900

Beam — Kenzie Moxley, Columbia River, 9.250

Class 4A state gymnastics championships

at Tacoma Dome’s Exhibition Hall

Team scores: Woodinville 180.475, Newport 172.975, Mead 172.200, Puyallup 170.950.

All-Around champion: Marisa Savage, Woodinville, 37.950

Local placers: 6, Nicole Moss, Heritage, 36.425; 8, Jamie Nolta, Union, 35.575.

Locals qualifying for Saturday’s individual event finals:

Vault — Nicole Moss, 9.600