BELLEVUE — Teammates told her she had a shot of placing, and coaches were also confident in her ability to perform at state.
In her first appearance at the 3A/2A/1A state gymnastics championships, Prairie junior Gretchen Lane took those words to heart, even if she didn’t fully believe them.
A few hours after she scored a 9.325 in Prairie’s opening event on the beam Friday, Lane learned she placed eighth as the scores were announced during the podium ceremony at Sammamish High School. Lane’s eighth-place finish led all Clark County participants, as well as helping Prairie to a seventh-place finish as a team.
“This is my first time at state, so it was exciting,” Lane said.
“My teammates have been here (before) and they said the scores were higher. I didn’t expect to place at all.”
Prairie’s team consisting of Lane, Mercedes Kienzle, Kylie Nemeth, Alexis Kienzle, Madelyn Lewis and Jaden Frazier combined for a 150.5 score in the Falcons’ first team appearance at state in 26 years, coach Dakota Tast said.
Lane posted a 34.925 score across beam, bars, vault and floor, which ranked 12th on the all-around leaderboard.
“This is our first time seeing Seattle teams, especially for her as a high schooler,” Tast said of Lane. “Last time she was up here with all-around gymnasts for club. Being here for high school is a whole different ballgame. I think it’s just motivation for her to come back next year.”
Because the last state meet was held in 2020, the Falcons had a mix of returners and first-time qualifiers Friday. For the latter group, a different format and competing against new faces from around the state took some getting used to.
“It’s completely different,” Tast said. “First of all, having the flight rotation, they’re not used to being at two different events. You’re not here with the kids you grew up with.
“Down there (in Clark County), we are (Greater St. Helens League), we are a family. So every time we’re up here, something we pride ourselves on is being able to cheer on our individuals and the team. … We got to watch our individuals compete in the same flight as us. So they got some family, but when we get up here it’s a whole different game, you see a whole different level of athleticism, and, I think, motivation.”
As the rotations turned out, Prairie opened Friday’s session on the beam, while individuals from Columbia River, Ridgefield and Mountain View were going through their floor routines in the same flight.
For Lane, sticking her landings was the key after suffering a couple falls at districts. Once she accomplished that Friday, it was like a mental block was cleared, her coach said.
“Coming into today and sticking that, I think was reassurance that she could do it, and being able to place was icing on the cake,” Tast said.
Ridgefield’s Joslyn Mayberry came up just shy of placing in the beam, coming in a tie for ninth place with a 9.225 score. Mayberry also had the best score (8.95) of all local entrants in the vault, while placing 25th in the all-around.
Columbia River’s Sydney Stahl, who, alongside Mayberry, were named the GSHL’s all-around gymnasts of the year, finished 38th in the all-around to lead the Rapids.
For others, qualifying for state was a significant accomplishment in itself.
Columbia River’s Lauren Stewart returned to the team midway through the season after injuries kept her out for approximately a year and a half, River coach Morgan McCurdy said. Stewart competed in the vault and went on to record the best score, 8.1, on the team.
Mountain View’s Rell Lennox suffered a broken pinkie toe just days before districts, according to coach Cristi Westcott. But she was able to regroup and place second in bars, earning a trip to state.
Additionally, Evergreen coach Kelsie Kirk was voted by her peers as the state’s assistant coach of the year.
3A/2A STATE MEET
At Sammamish HS, Bellevue
Team scores — 1, Sammamish 175.45; 2, Lake Washington 172.375; 3, Ballard 169.125. 4, Mead 167; 5, Bainbridge 161.45; 6, North Thurston 155.9; 7, Prairie 150.5; 8, Monroe 139.9.
All-around champion — Seema Borgman (Sammamish) 37.950.
Event winners and local results
Vault — 1, Martina Klecka (Sehome) 9.550; 14, Joslyn Mayberry (Ridgefield) 8.950; t-45, Mercedes Kienzle (Prairie) 8.200; t-53, Lauren Stewart (Columbia River) 8.100; t-56, Gretchen Lane (Prairie) 8.050; t-56, Sydney Stahl (Columbia River) 8.050; t-78, Kylie Nemeth (Prairie) 7.750; Alexis Kienzle (Prairie) 7.550; t-88, McKenna Holder (Heritage) 7.350; t-88, Kylee Mayberry 7.350; 95, Cambelle Snider (Prairie) 6.700.
Bars — 1, Micah Laughary (Sammamish) 9.575; t-17, Gretchen Lane (Prairie) 8.375; 50, Sydney Stahl (Columbia River) 7.250; 69, Joslyn Mayberry (Ridgefield) 6.375; t-75, Jaden Frazier (Prairie) 6.050; 81, Reese Velanskey (Washougal) 5.850; 83, Mercedes Kienzle (Prairie) 5.675; 84, Madelyn Lewis (Prairie) 5.650; 88, Kendall Ball (Columbia River) 5.500; 89, Sasha Glenn (Ridgefield) 5.450; Alexis Kienzle (Prairie) 5.400; 91, Kylie Nemeth (Prairie) 5.100; 93, Rell Lennox (Mountain View) 4.500.
Beam —1, Seema Borgmann (Sammamish) 9.700; 8, Gretchen Lane (Prairie) 9.325; t-9, Joslyn Mayberry (Ridgefield) 9.225; 38, Sydney Stahl (Columbia River) 8.525; 43, Kendall Ball (Columbia River) 8.450; t-47, McKenna Holder (Heritage) 8.250; t-61, Bella DeLaRosa (Ridgefield) 7.950; 64, Alexis Kienzle (Prairie) 7.900; 69, Estella Stillman (Columbia River) 7.825; 80, Alexis Kienzle (Prairie) 7.025; 85. Jaden Frazier (Prairie) 6.700; 86, Kylie Nemeth (Prairie) 6.625; 88, Reese Velanskey (Washougal) 6.350; 89, Sasha Glenn (Ridgefield) 6.200; 94, Cambelle Snyder (Prairie) 5.650.
Floor —1, Ellery Glimer (Lake Washington) 9.675; 22, Gretchen Lane (Prairie) 9.175; t-25, Mercedes Kienzle (Prairie) 9.125; t-31, Mckenna Holder (Heritage) 9.075; t-34, Joslyn Mayberry (Ridgefield) 9.050; 48, Estella Stillman (Columbia River) 8.925; 68, Kendall Ball (Columbia River) 8.625; t-69, Alexis Kienzle (Prairie) 8.550; t-71, Sydney Stahl (Columbia River) 8.500; t-76, Jaden Frazier (Prairie) 8.325; 87, Kylie Nemeth (Prairie) 7.850; 90, Madelyn Lewis (Prairie) 7.625; t-92, Chloe Klock (Evergreen) 7.400; t-92, Rachel MacArthur (Columbia River) 7.400.