TACOMA — It was a rewarding finish to a high-flying high school gymnastics career.
Flipping through a double back handspring sequence on beam that transitioned into a pinpoint layout dismount, Newport senior Candace Ho used characteristically precise execution to win a state title for the third straight year in the State Gymnastics Individual Finals Saturday at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.
Ho, the state 4A beam champion in 2013 and the 2012 co-floor champ, posted a 9.45 Saturday to defend her beam title. “It feels awesome,” a celebratory Ho said.
Nykaela Dodson of Sammamish accomplished the same feat on the 3A/2A side by winning her second straight state beam title, putting up a 9.425.
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Jenna Hayes of Eastlake, a senior in her first year of prep gymnastics, won the 4A vault title with a glittering 9.725. Marisa Savage, who won the 4A all-around title Friday night to lead Woodinville its fifth team title in eight seasons, captured the 4A individual title on bars with a score of 9.55.
The meet’s only two-event winner was junior Kiya Bjorge of Southridge (Kennewick), a level-10 club gymnast who won the 3A/2A titles on bars (9.575) and floor (9.625).
Alexis Lawrence of 3A/2A team champion Kamiakin won the 3A/2A vault crown (9.725) and finished in the top three in all four events. Mead’s Jenna Schlosser won the 4A floor title (9.5) while adding two second-place finishes and a third.
A fall on bars Friday night might have cost Ho the 4A all-around title. She still placed third — her fourth top-four all-around finish.
“Yesterday wasn’t the greatest day I’ve had, but today I accomplished everything I wanted to,” she said. “I wanted to defend my beam title, make my double-full on floor (where she placed second) and I wanted to stand up two vaults. I hardly ever stand up both of them.”
Ho will now focus on track at Newport, where she has placed fourth at state in 4A pole vault the past two seasons. “I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was 4,” she said. “It’s been a great ride.”
Dodson, a former level-10 club gymnast, opted to conclude her beam routine with a difficult gainer layout just before Friday’s team competition.
“I had some trouble with it earlier in the season, so I stopped using it,” the junior said. “I finally put it in yesterday and it paid off, and I did it today and I ended up sticking it. That felt really good. I knew that every hundredth of a point counted, so I had to add in something.”
Hayes, a former level-9 club gymnast, performed a nearly flawless Yurchenko pike to win the 4A vault. “It’s one of the best vaults I’ve ever done,” the senior said. “While I was doing it, I was thinking, yes, it’s a good one.”
• Enumclaw senior Olivia Bannerot, the 2013 3A/2A bars champion, had top-five finishes in all four events Saturday, tying for second on floor (9.6).
• Jenn Rogers of Mount Si placed fourth on 3A/2A bars (9.3) while Anna Paradee of Decatur and Elena Fowler of Holy Names tied for fourth on vault (9.575). Savage placed second on 4A vault (9.625) and third on 4A beam (9.225). She and Kate Jacobsen of Puyallup tied for third on 4A floor (9.375). Jacobsen tied Schlosser for second on 4A bars (9.525).