State gymnastics: Kamiakin outlasts Enumclaw

Contributing writerFebruary 22, 2014 

When Kamiakin High School’s gymnasts arrived at the Class 3A/2A/1A state competition at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall, they all wore rainbow-hued princess crowns.

And then the crowns came off, and the Braves of Kennewick got down to the business of proving that they’re gymnastics royalty.

Kamiakin tallied 181.70 points in the team competition Friday, beating two-time defending state champion Enumclaw (178.425) and Mount Si (168.60) for their second title in school history.

Sitting on the throne in the all-around competition was Kamiakin junior Alexis Lawrence, a Level 10 (highest ranking) club gymnast in her first year of high school gymnastics.

Lawrence won two events, scoring 9.675 points on the vault and 9.5 on the uneven bars, for a total of 38.30 — .25 ahead of Southridge’s Kiya Bjorge (38.05), the state champion in 2012.

“I’m proud I could come out here with my team and show everyone what I’ve got,” Lawrence said. “I just tried my hardest and worked at what I do at practice and was confident.”

Kamiakin coach Sarah Garrett said that like the 2011 team that won a state title, this year’s group has a competitive spirit. But not so much that they don’t opt to wait until the meet ends to put their crowns back on.

“Our team knows it’s team first and then individual,” Garrett said, “so they have to want their teammates to score high, and then they score high.

“They all gave 100 percent today, and when you give 100 percent, it all falls into place.”

Enumclaw senior Olivia Bannerot was the South Sound’s highest finisher, placing third in the all-around with 37.95 points.

“I was hoping I would do well, but I knew I wouldn’t win,” she said. “There are girls competing at Level 10, and I haven’t competed in four years, but I’m proud of myself and the meet I had today.

“I wouldn’t change it.”

Bannerot’s score was buoyed by a 9.55 on the vault, the second highest of the day. She will also compete in all four individual events today.

“Vault has always been one of my favorites,” said Bannerot, who was second on the floor (9.675). “I don’t have the most difficult one here, but I have a lot of power.”

Hornets coach Ben Skipworth said that despite being runner-up, he was pleased with his team’s performance. Sophomore Victoria Hernandez placed sixth in the all-around (36.625), and junior Emily Berte was eighth (36.35).

“It was a really good meet for us, our best score of the season,” he said. “It clicked pretty well.”

He added that Bannerot was outstanding in her final meet of her high school career.

“Olivia is an awesome all-around gymnast,” he said. “We’ll see what she does tomorrow.”

Other locals moving on include Berte in all four events and Hernandez on the vault, Decatur senior Anna Paradee on the vault and floor, and Capital junior Keira Lathrop on the vault, floor and bars.

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