Led by a runner-up finish in the all-around by Elena Fowler, the Cougars earn the team title at the Class 3A/2A state gymnastics meet.
TACOMA — The dream finally came true for Holy Names.
Paced by deep roster and a second-place finish in the all-around by senior Elena Fowler, the Cougars won the school’s first state gymnastics championship by topping three-time champion Kamiakin in the Class 3A/2A state meet Thursday night at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.
“Total elation,” sixth-year coach Donny Gallegos said when asked to describe the feeling after seeing his squad ascend from an eighth-place finish five years ago.
“We’ve been working toward this for many years, and it has just eluded us,” he said. “To finally have it, I can’t even put it into words.”
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Holy Names posted a score of 176.725 to lead the eight-team field, followed by Kamiakin (173.825), Lake Washington (172.05), Mount Spokane (165.725) and Columbia River (159.875).
Sammamish freshman Sydney Griswold claimed the all-around title, posting the top scores of the meet on bars (9.6) and beam (9.45) on her way to a 37.975. Fowler, after sticking a Tsukahara pike on vault (9.75), placed second in the all-around (37.8) for the second straight year.
Fowler, who qualified to compete in all four events in Friday’s individual finals, shrugged at the thought of back-to-back second-place finishes in all-around.
“Yeah, again,” she said with a smile. “It’s OK. I was not worried about that. I wanted to do well individually for the team.”
For Griswold, a former level 8 club gymnast, her 9.6 on bars was a personal best in either club or high school.
“Probably my best skill was my pirouette,” she said of her bars performance. “I struggled with that for a couple of meets, but I’ve tried to focus on getting those consistent in practice so they would be consistent in meets.”
After enduring three major injuries within a year, Griswold left club and its rigorous training demand for her high-school team.
“It’s different, but it’s a good different,” she said. “I was really contemplating whether I wanted to totally quit because I had lost the love for the sport. After joining high school, it’s all back.”
Lake Washington freshman Audrey Arnold took third in all-around (37.335), while junior teammate Kaysha Walford, battling through an ankle injury, placed fifth (36.55). Shadle Park junior Brooklynn Park took fourth (36.75).
Arnold recorded the night’s best floor score at 9.575.
“I love how we’re a team, in and outside of the gym,” she said. “We worked hard for this, and it shows in how well we did today.”
With her bad ankle, Walford was not sure she would even compete Thursday.
“I came into the meet not thinking I was going to do anything but bars,” she said. “It was really swollen and painful, and I haven’t been walking very well the past couple of days. But with it taped and with adrenaline, I was able to do it.”
Lake Washington recorded its highest finish at state during Katie Perrigoue’s 19 years as coach.
“This feels really good,” Perrigoue said. “They are amazing young ladies, and they have a special bond with each other. When one of them is down or had a bad routine or maybe they can’t throw a skill, they really support each other. That’s what got us here today.”