Heritage’s Moss, Skyview’s Lea place high at gymnastics state meet

Moss second on floor exercise, Lea third on beam

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter

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Floor exercise by Heritage's Nicole Moss (courtesy of Heritage High School athletics)

Miranda Lea of Skyview High School competes on the balance beam at the 4A state gymnastics championships in Tacoma on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. She took third place with a score of 9.25.

Sarah Ellis, left, of Columbia River High School congratulates Kylee Tjensvold of Ridgefield after her performance of the uneven bars at the 3A/2A gymnastic state championships in Tacoma on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015.

TACOMA — A couple of high school athletic careers ended on high notes, and a couple are just getting started.

Four Clark County athletes earned medals Saturday at the state gymnastics championships at the Tacoma Dome’s Exhibition Hall.

Nicole Moss, a senior from Heritage, finished second in the Class 4A floor exercise — the top finisher among the Clark County athletes who qualified for Saturday’s finals.

“I’m really sad that the year is over,” Moss said. “Finishing with a medal, though, is something I’m really proud of.”

Moss scored a 9.65, finishing second to Tia Thomas of Federal Way, who recorded a 9.7.

“I’ve been doing gymnastics my whole life. I’ve never had as much fun as I’ve had in high school gymnastics,” Moss said. “I’m just really happy I made it here.”

Skyview’s Miranda Lea, who finished fifth in the all-around competition on Friday, took third place on the balance beam, scoring a 9.25. Also a senior, she appreciates how much work she has put in to reach this point.

“I was kind of the underdog. Freshman year, no one expected much from me. Now I’m one of the girls people actually recognize,” Lea said.

She said it was a “shock” to finish fifth in the all-around competition on Friday. Then to earn a medal on Saturday just made the weekend even better.

The top four placers in the 4A meet earned medals. The top eight in the 3A/2A meet — which has twice as many competitors as the 4A meet — earned medals.

Sarah Ellis of Columbia River earned medals in two events: She took sixth on the balance beam and seventh on the uneven bars.

A freshman, this was her first experience at a state high school event. The finals competition is different, with only one athlete competing at a time. (In many gymnastics meets, all four events are going at the same time.)

“I like it,” Ellis said. “I like everyone watching me. It’s kind of fun to show off, I guess.”

She hopes to return next year to have more eyes on her, to win more medals.

Ridgefield sophomore Kylee Tjensvold, representing 2A athletes, took fifth place on the uneven bars.

The key to her success, she said, was her team’s support through the year.

“Positive attitude and having fun,” Tjensvold said.