Puyallup: Sports

ER’s Richardson trades bars for all-around performer

Kelly Richardson is slated as Emerald Ridge’s only all-around performer as the Jaguars gymnastics team aims to reach state again come February.
Kelly Richardson is slated as Emerald Ridge’s only all-around performer as the Jaguars gymnastics team aims to reach state again come February. Staff writer

The Emerald Ridge High gymnastics team is a complete team where every gymnast on the roster contributes to the Jaguars’ ultimate goal: a team Class 4A state title.

But to get there, Emerald Ridge is going to need individuals to step up. Sophomore Kelly Richardson is at the head of that charge.

Just to be able to make it there and into the second day of state, I just thought it was amazing to see all the girls there even if it was just for bars.

Kelly Richardson

Last year, Richardson had a great amount of talent, especially when it came to the bars. But this year it’s a whole new ballgame for the Jaguar gymnast: becoming an all-around performer.

“I am definitely taking on more responsibilities with the team,” Richardson said. “It’s tiring doing everything, but at least I have my teammates to help where I slip up.”

An all-around performer has to do it all — from the bars and beam to the vault and floor routines — it’s about perfecting all of the events.

So a lot is riding on the Jaguar sophomore’s shoulders this season.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are. Anyone can do impossible things if you work hard,” Richardson said.

Richardson had a taste last season where she made it to the state meet with her Emerald Ridge teammates as the Jaguars took second place behind state champion Woodinville. Richardson did her part over the two days as she competed in the bars.

Richardson took eighth place in the event with an overall score of 8.6.

“Just to be able to make it there and into the second day of state, I just thought it was amazing to see all the girls there even if it was just for bars,” she said.

Like any gymnast, Richardson deals with the same strengths and weaknesses many go through in their careers. For Richardson, her strengths lie in the bars and vault. She feels both will be events that drive her toward the Event Center at the Tacoma Dome.

“I still have some events I need to work on, as some events are better than others,” she said. “I’m definitely stronger in bars and vaults.”

But as those two events are what she labels as her stronger events, it will take a lot of effort for her to pick up the slack in the beam and her floor routine, two events that can make major impact on her placement at state.

8.6 Richardson’s state score for the bars during her freshman season with Emerald Ridge gymnastics.

“On beams, I could do better, but I think beams is just a mental thing (for me),” Richardson said. “I’m not a natural dancer like most of the girls who do well on floor. I don’t have the agility that some of the other girls have on floor.”

There’s still time for Richardson to perfect all her events as she is still just a sophomore with two years left after this season. Right now, it’s about getting to the Event Center and then see where things go as Richardson pushes herself to be there for her Emerald Ridge gymnastics team.

“I’m a competitive person, and I think that will be what helps me get back (to state),” Richardson said. “That competitiveness is what I believe will get my team back there this season.”

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