What Olivia Bannerot will remember most about her senior gymnastics season at Enumclaw High School won’t be the moment she stuck a difficult landing or pulled off a dazzling tumbling sequence.
It actually came in a meet that she admits wasn’t her best, when she placed second in the all-around competition after bailing on her second vault for the first time ever, and taking an uncharacteristic fall on the uneven bars.
Between events, Bannerot was talking to her family when a little girl came up and asked if she would sign her meet program.
“I was so shocked,” she said. “Nobody has ever asked me for my autograph before. I felt so honored.”
She added with a laugh, “I felt bad because then I fell on the bars and thought, well, she’s probably ripping that up now.”
Bannerot called last weekend’s uneven – for her – West Central District meet a humbling experience, but added she hopes she got out her “jitters and wobbles” so she can help Enumclaw to a third consecutive state championship at the Tacoma Dome this weekend.
The former level-9 club gymnast is also chasing her first all-around state title. She has finished in the top five the past three years.
“It would be just unreal if I won,” she said.
Bannerot won the Class 3A bars title last year, but her love of the floor routine is evident.
“She’s really good at performing,” Enumclaw coach Ben Skipworth said. “She plays to the crowd.”
Bannerot started competing at age 7. The longevity of her career makes it difficult to grasp that this weekend will be her final meet.
A multisport athlete, including an all-SPSL 3A libero in volleyball, she plans to run track at Linfield College in Oregon or at the University of Washington while studying nursing.
“It’s going to be hard,” she said. “There’s definitely a point in every gymnast’s life when they think, ‘Why am I putting (myself) through this?’ But gymnastics has taught me more than just about sports – like life lessons and work ethic.”
WIAA STATE GIRLS GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday-Saturday, Exhibition Hall, Tacoma
2013 state team champions: 4A – Emerald Ridge. 3A/2A/1A – Enumclaw.
Returning local state champions: 3A – Olivia Bannerot, Enumclaw (uneven bars).
Schedule: Friday – 3A/2A/1A rotations are from 1:30-4:25 p.m. 4A rotations are from 6:35-9:30 p.m. Saturday – Event finals are from 11:20 a.m.-2:15 p.m.
Scouting report: 4A – It is a swan-song season for longtime Woodinville coach Kim Smothermon, who has guided the Falcons to four state titles (2007-2010). Could they send her out with a fifth? Led by Marisa Savage (district all-around champion), Emily Paratore and a whole lot of depth, it will take something special to upend the KingCo powerhouse. If one school can, it likely would be Mead, which won the 4A title in 2012. The Panthers took a big step by winning the West Central District crown, outlasting Puyallup and helping eliminate defending state champion Emerald Ridge, which placed third. Mead’s Jenna Schlossler won the district all-around title, and should be on the short list of favorites. Last year, Emerald Ridge became the fourth SPSL school to win the 4A title, joining Kent-Meridian (1986), Kentwood (2001-02) and Rogers (2005). Can the Vikings add to that? They were nudged by Mead, 170.025-169.85, for the district title, and have a standout in sophomore Kate Jacobsen, the WCD all-around runner-up who is competing in her first season of high-school gymnastics.
3A - The team chase could very well come down to the same top three state finishers from last season – Enumclaw, Kamiakin and Mount Si. Each school captured a district team title last weekend. And the all-around title should be a real battle between Bannerot, a top-five finisher the past three seasons, and the girl who beat her for the 2012 3A title – Southridge’s Kiya Bjorge, a level-10 gymnast. Also watch out for Mount Si junior Jenn Rogers, the Sea-King District all-around winner, and runner-up Nykaela Dodson.
Tickets: Single day is $15 for adults, $11 for students/senior citizens. Tournament passes are $23 for adults, $17 for students/senior citizens.