Only the second competitor to have gone in the floor exercise with five remaining, Federal Way’s Tia Thomas celebrated her performance with a fist pump and dance knowing she had just accomplished something special in her third appearance at the state finals.
Thomas, who has signed a letter of intent to go to the University of Oregon this fall, finished her senior year with an impressive score of 9.700 to win the Class 4A championship in the floor competition at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.
“I knew I did the best routine of my life,” Thomas said. “At the end, it’s in God’s hands and the judges hands whether or not I’m going to win or not, so I was just praying and hoping that it was my day.”
Thomas previously finished second in the floor her sophomore year and seventh last year as a junior.
“It’s been a lot of hard work the past four years,” Thomas said. “I had to put blood, sweat and tears into it, but I am very proud and very pleased with how everything turned out.”
Elsewhere in the finals, Kayla Porter’s young star shined brightly, as the Auburn Mountainview sophomore took first in the Class 3A/2A beam competition with a score of 9.700, .250 better than the runner-up.
“I was excited to start on beam and throw something I haven’t done in three months,” Porter said. “It was finals, there’s nothing to lose. I just went out there and did the best I could.”
Besides the beam, Porter also took third place in the uneven bars (9.450) and floor (9.650) and sixth place in the vault (9.375) in her first year at the state championships.
“I wasn’t expecting there to be much competition because I was always told high school was easier than club,” Porter said after competing in club a year ago instead of high school. “However, there was some pretty good girls here, and it made me work for what I wanted. It was a good thing. It didn’t make me seem like I was better than everybody, and I wanted to have somebody to compete against; that was exactly what I got.”
After a great 4A West Central District 3 showing in vault, Olympia High sophomore Makayla Waggoner struggled to match that same showing at the state tournament, finishing with a score of 8.85 and a last-place finish.
“I think I am actually going to start to do my vaults in warmups rather than just flipping them in competition so that I can get some more out of the way,” Waggoner said. “Next year I am going to work harder so I can get better skills and come back again.”