In came McGee. Stressed about sticking her landing, McGee didn’t “go for it” until her second attempt.
“If you don’t go for it the second time,” McGee said, “you’re kind of screwed, you know? So I guess I was really excited I went for it.”
With her back against the wall, she soared and nailed the landing. The crowd cheered. McGee, along with her teammates, anxiously waited for her score to pop up on the board. When the red letters flashed “9.750,” the team gasped.
The score shot McGee into first place on vault — a mark that went unchallenged after the course of the evening session. It was also the cherry on top of monumental team victory for the Papermakers, who scored the third highest team score of all time.
That moment of celebration for McGee was a signifier of the confidence she says she’s felt all season. And the victory served as the culmination of a goal McGee set a year prior, in the wake of a narrow second place state finish as a freshman.
Standing atop the podium at Samammish High School was McGee’s motivation all year.
Despite going undefeated throughout the entire regular season, coming off a second-place finish at state as a freshman, McGee was not selected to either of the all-4A Greater St. Helens League teams (voted on by league coaches), nor did she recieve honorable mention, much to the chagrin of Willson.
But McGee took the high road, saying she was happy others recieved recognition. Her goal, she said, was bigger.
“Throughout the season I kind of proved it being undefeated,” McGee said. “I didn’t need a title to prove it. I just needed to know that I proved it to myself, and if other people didn’t see that, well, I know I did it.”
The rest of the All-Region team
Grace Gordon, Columbia River
Won a 1A/2A/3A state title on beam with a 9.625.
Alyssa Shibata, Camas
Finished second in state on beam with a 9.450.
Anna Sugarman, Skyview
Tied for fifth in state on bars with a 9.350.
Lili Ford, Camas
Finished third on beam and tied for eighth on vault at state.
Peyton Cody, Camas
Placed fourth in state on bars with a 9.375.
Kayla Jacques, Union
Tied for eighth place on vault with a 9.375.