A year ago, the Olympia High School girls gymnastics team had a painful finish in the 4A West Central District state qualifying meet as the Bears team missed advancing to state by four-tenths of a point.
With junior Makayla Waggoner winning the vault on her way to a second-place finish in the all-around, this year, the Bears team won by more than two full points, totaling 173.850 to edge host Mount Rainier, which scored 171.725, on Saturday.
This time, Puyallup ended up the hard-luck team, missing a trip to state by less than a point (171.050).
The first- and second-place teams, top 10 individuals and top three all-around finishers all advance to the state tournament.
“This was a big goal,” said Waggoner. “Our school hasn’t made it to state as a team since the ‘80s.”
A week ago, the result was reversed as the Rams won the SPSL 4A sub-district meet with Olympia finishing in second place.
“We did way better than last week. The girls have improved so much all season,” Olympia coach Brandi Embrey said. “They kept their cool on the balance beam today, which was key.”
Waggoner’s vault score (9.7) gave her a decisive win in the event and along with a 9.5 in the floor exercise pushed her to a 37.475 in the all-around, just behind Puyallup’s Kate Jacobsen, who finished first with 38.050.
“Makayla hit a huge double pike in the floor (exercise),” Embrey said.
Embrey also praised Laura Coor — who finished sixth in the uneven bars and 10th in the vault — and Mady Becker, who contributed an 8.675 score in the vault.
“Laura’s nervous sometimes, but today she kept her calm in every event,” she said. “She showed a massive improvement.”
Jacobsen won two individual events, the beam (9.7) and bars (9.5), and also claimed second place in the floor exercise (9.575) and seventh in the vault (9.275).
Mount Rainier’s Naleia Gomes recorded the highest score in any individual event, winning the floor exercise with a 9.725. She also finished in second place on the beam (9.55) on her way to third place all-around.
Other all-around finishers included Tahoma’s Tenley Mjelde (36.7) in fourth place, followed by Kentlake’s Cassie Padilla (36.525) in fifth.
Emerald Ridge’s Kelly Richardson (35.65) wound up in eighth place, followed by Mount Rainier’s Hailey Sagmoen (35.575) and Puyallup’s Selina Fragoso (35.425).
Black Hills 65, R.A. Long 54: After swiping the No. 2 seed out of the 2A EvCo from Centralia last week, the Wolves bested the Lumberjacks at home.
And TJ Mickelson put on a show with 32 points, including seven 3-pointers.
Black Hills (10-11) will play Mark Morris (18-3) on Tuesday for a trip to the 2A Southwest District 4 championship.
Tumwater 68, Hudson’s Bay 53: The T-Birds are on the road back to the 2A Southwest District 4 championship.
Weston Vandenhazel led the way for Tumwater with a game-high 25 as the T-Birds caught and passed the Eagles in the third quarter to pull away.
Tumwater (14-6) will meet Woodland (14-7) in the second round on Tuesday.
Woodland 46, Centralia 33: The Tigers will fight for their season on Tuesday after dropping a first-round 2A Southwest District 4 tournament game to Woodland.
Centralia (9-12) will get Hudson’s Bay (8-13) in a loser-out contest.
The Olympian staff contributed to this report.