CaroLyne Schmidt’s feet had barely touched the mat when she was swallowed up by a sea of black-and-green sparkles.
The Emerald Ridge senior had just completed the final vault of the Class 4A team gymnastics competition, and her teammates were confident that she had propelled them to the state championship.
They were correct.
The Jaguars scored 175.05 total points to win their first team title in school history. Woodinville was second at 173.375.
“I’m so proud of them,” said Jaguars coach Bobbi Jones, whose team includes five seniors. “For them to finish three or four years of hard work with a state championship, you just can’t beat that.
“It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Senior Britni Atwell of Vancouver’s Heritage High captured the all-around title with 37.375 points.
Going into the final round Friday morning at the Tacoma Dome, Woodinville led Emerald Ridge by fewer than three points. The Falcons had won four consecutive state titles from 2007-10, but the Jaguars, in their first state appearance as a team, had their best event — the vault — for the final rotation.
“We knew that if we just did what we did all season, we had this,” said senior Elizabeth Clemens, who placed fourth in the all-around standings,
Schmidt said she was nervous because she knew what she had to score to keep the Jaguars’ hopes alive. She scored 9.55 points, the third-best of the day.
“I didn’t care about myself today; I just wanted to get our team to victory,” she said in reference to her fifth-place finish in the all-around. “We’ve been working toward this, and to be here is so amazing.”
Atwell scored 9.6 to finish first on the vault, but said it was her performance on the beam that meant the most — and helped her win the all-around title.
“I was really, really nervous, because every time I’ve done the beam at state, I’ve fallen on it,” she said. “But I got through it.
“I focused on one skill and then the other (instead of) the whole routine.”
Atwell, who has battled a shoulder injury all season, is a three-time defending champion on the vault and also has three titles in the floor exercise.
She will compete today in all four events for the final time of her high school career. The top eight advance to the 4A individual event finals.
“I’m just excited that I came in senior year and knocked out four-for-four,” she said. “I hope I can do the same thing tomorrow. I’m staying positive — and I’m going to Taco Bell. That’s my reward.”
Newport junior Candace Ho finished second with 36.7 points, and Heritage sophomore Nicole Moss was third with 36.675.
In the 3A/2A competition, Enumclaw repeated as team champion with 181.050 points. Kamiakin was second at 179.6.
Highline senior Kristen Rodal defended her all-around title with 37.95 points. Teammate Mia Alvarez finished second with 37.725.