BELLEVUE — Grace Gordon made quick work with of her salute after sticking her landing on the beam Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, she paused for an second. She was soaking it all in.
“I took a moment to take in that it was a perfect landing, and that felt good,” Gordon said. “A great way to finish my gymnastics career.”
The Columbia River senior’s day ended standing on the first place podium after day two of the event finals of the 3A/2A/1A state gymnastics championship at Sammamish High School.
Gordon posted a score of 9.625 on the beam, which put her into the lead with eight gymnasts to compete.
By the end of the meet, Gordon’s score stood up, outdistancing Abigail Winstead of Kamiakin and Ellery Gilmer of Lake Washington, who tied for second at 9.550.
Gordon also placed seventh on the uneven bars with a score of 9.250.
And in her final moment as a competitive gymnast, the beam, she stuck the dismount and stood valiantly.
Gordon was Southwest Washington’s lone medalist, let alone finalist — individual or team — from the two-day event, which concluded midday Friday before the start of the 4A meet.
It came a year and a day after undergoing the second of two surgeries for a broken ankle she suffered just after the district tournament that kept her out of state last season. She quit club and decided to go out for high school gymnastics entering her junior season.
Winning state in the beam wasn’t always the place Gordon thought she’d make her mark Friday. In fact, it was the event giving her the most fits.
At districts, with the same beam series she put forth on Thursday and Friday, she fell in between her first and second back handspring. Her thigh collided hard enough with the beam to leave a sizable bruise.
But she stuck with it, and did so by working past the thought of missing the mark. Even though, Gordon said, she aced the series 98 percent of the time in practice and competition, it was the 2 percent that was tough to kick mentally.
“Especially when they’re crashed like she had at districts,” River assistant coach Allison Sparrow said. “Those are the ones you remember.”
As Gordon walked up to mount the beam, she prepared to clear her mind and focus on the competition — finding her “white space,” she called it.
But before she could, she heard the cheers of teammates who made the trip up just to support her and River’s two other state qualifiers (the team as a whole did not qualify) and saw her dad, Tim Gordon, holding up and pointing to a sign that read: “Go Gracie!”
“I could hear everyone screaming, my teammates and my dad were behind me,” Gordon said, “and that meant the world to me to hear all that support.”
Then, she made good on the performance she’d spent tireless hours perfecting and walked away from Sammamish High School, and her competitive gymnastics career, a state champion.
“I didn’t expect this to happen at all,” Gordon said. “I’m really happy.”
3A/2A/1A STATE GYMNASTICS EVENT FINALS
At Sammamish High School
BEAM—1, Grace Gordon (Columbia River) 9.625; T2, Abigal Winstead (Kamiakin) 9.550; T2, Ellery Gilmer (Lake Wash.) 9.550; 4, Martine Klecka (Sehome) 9.525; T5, Hanna Hill (Mt. Spokane) 9.425; 7, Erin McGinnis (White River) 9.400; T8, Courteney Hori (Lake Washington) 9.375.
FLOOR—1, Abigal Winstead (Kamiakin) 9.700; 2, Sydney Griswold (Sammamish) 9.600; T3, Lianne Kistler (9.550) 9.550; T3, Allison Lofquist (Juanita) 9.550; 5, Amaya Gales (Kamiakin) 9.525; 6, Kaysa Lundberg (Holy Names) 9.500; 7, Hanna Hill (Mt. Spokane) 0.475; T8, Martina Klecka (Sehome) 9.450; T8, Chylye Schillen (White River) 9.450.
BARS—1, Lianne Kistler (Ballard) 9.600; 2, Sydney Griswold (Sammamish) 9.550; 3, Maddi Bughi (Mt. Spokane) 9.500; 4, SiQi Talley (Bainbridge) 9.425; 5, Cait McNeill (Holy Names) 9.400; 6, Gina Twenge (Mt. Spokane) 9.375; 7, Grace Gordon (Columbia River) 9.250; T8, Gloria Wang (Juanita) 9.175; T8, Ally Neiders (Holy Names) 9.175.
VAULT—1, Lianne Kistler (Ballard) 9.475; 2, Laly Noriega (Lake Washington) 9.425; 3, Sydney Griswold (Sammamish) 9.400; 4, Amaya Gales (Kamiakin) 9.350; 5, Allison Lofquist (Juanita) 9.325; 6, Chylye Schillen (White River) 9.225; T7, Martina Klecka (Sehome) 9.200; T7, Kaysa Lundberg (Holy Names) 9.200.