It was the simplest of moves — and it almost proved to be Nykaela Dodson’s undoing.
Dodson, a senior at Sammamish High School and the defending champion on the balance beam, was halfway through her routine in the Class 3A/2A/1A state gymnastics championship when she fell.
Dodson figured it was over, but her score of 9.30 was still enough to propel her to the all-around title, with 38.125 total points. Kamiakin successfully defended its team title with 174.650 points.
Her victory ended the unblemished postseason run of Auburn Mountainview sophomore Kayla Porter, who finished as runner-up at 38.050.
“It built up to the beam, which is a high-pressure event to stay on,” Dodson said. “To fall off and feel like I lost it all, and then to have it back up, it was just a huge roller coaster.”
While Dodson pulled off dazzling moves in her final event of the night, she said she overthought a split three-quarter move.
“I was right there,” she said. “To get back up and finish, I was hoping and hoping.”
Porter, who swept the West Central District and South Puget Sound League meets, led in the all-around standings going into the final flight of the team competition at the Tacoma Dome. She finished with the top scores on the beam (9.450) and uneven bars (9.600).
“It wasn’t my best,” she said. “I have gotten higher scores in every event, but overall, it was one of my better meets of the season. I thought I had it.”
Porter, a former club gymnast, said she could have been more focused in her first state appearance, but that she planned to regroup for today’s individual competition.
“There’s nothing more you can do than what you have,” she said. “So I’ll just try my best and hopefully, it’s better than others.”
Despite only having two returners from last year’s squad, Kamiakin of Kennewick held off Enumclaw (172.575) in the team competition.
“I thought we had a good chance of (repeating) and it just depended on if the girls were on or not,” said Braves coach Sarah Garrett, “and they were on.”
4A state gymnastics
In the Class 4A competition, it came down to the last routine of the morning session to determine the all-around champion.
After defending champion Marisa Savage recorded a 9.4 on the uneven bars, it left Mead’s Jenna Schlosser needing higher than a 9.25 on the beam to win.
Getting through a difficult early part of her routine with a couple of handsprings, Schlosser came away with a clean 9.425 to become the school’s first ever all-around champion.
Schlosser’s final score was 38.095, just ahead of Savage’s 37.925.
“My goal was to get a 38.0 in the all-around because I had never got one,” Schlosser said. “My last meet ever, and it felt really good to get it.
“Afterward I wanted to hug everyone.”
Emerald Ridge came from behind in the final rotation to place second in the 4A team chase behind KingCo powerhouse and defending state champion Woodinville. Senior Kiersten Smith’s season-best 9.375 score on the vault was key in the Jaguars overtaking Mead.
“Our goal was to finish second, so we accomplished that,” Emerald Ridge coach Bobbi Jones said. “We are thrilled.”