The veteran club gymnast won a state vault title as the state gymnastics meet wrapped up with the Class 4A individual event finals.
Ashley Yang of Kentwood calls making the switch from club gymnastics to high-school competition “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
“I had so much fun at every meet, I’ve made connections with new friends, my coaches were amazing, and it’s just been a really great experience,” she said.
The final payoff of her one-and-done senior season in the sport? Yang won a championship Saturday afternoon at the Class 4A state individual event finals at Sammamish High School, placing first on vault with a score of 9.625.
“Coming into every event I’ve had the confidence that I could place high,” said Yang, who trained at level 10 at club. “I’m very happy how it turned out today.”
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A different competitor won each event, and all four are first-time champions: Yang on vault, Bothell sophomore Cora Taylor on bars (9.65), freshman Rylye Anderson of Puyallup on beam (9.475) and Alina Helbling of University in Spokane on floor (9.525).
Senior Maddie LoMauro of Newport earned two second-place medals for her performances on floor (9.5) and vault (9.525). Cecelia Loudermilk of Kentlake tied for third on vault (9.5) and placed fifth on bars. Other fifth-place finishers were Emma Rochleau of Tahoma (9.475 on vault), Ellie Mann of Woodinville on beam (9.325) and Alexandra Dimitrov of Inglemoor on floor (9.425).
Yang also placed sixth on floor (9.4), and her twin sister Emily tied for seventh (9.35) along with Ariana Martinez of Auburn Mountainview and Alyssa Hatch of Auburn Riverside.
Taylor rose to level 9 in club before walking away in September. “My body couldn’t handle it,” she said of the year-round training.
Her coach, Traci Stizmann, pointed out Taylor’s precise execution of a routine with a high start value (10.1) resulted in her first-place score.
“She’s just consistent,” she said. “She practices like she competes, and if you give her a correction, she takes it and knows how to apply it. She’s just a professional.”
“Her pirouette into the shoot-over was her make-it-or-break-it move today,” assistant coach Jade Stizmann said. “It was in the warmup when she figured out how to straighten it out. And she has a beautiful double-back, and she just nailed it. It’s a beautiful finish.”
The 4-foot-11 Anderson, a former level-10 elite gymnast who took a year off after a severe back injury before switching to high-school competition, embraces the challenge of competing on beam.
“It’s my favorite event,” she said. “I love the pressure. It’s nerve-wracking, but it helps me stay focused. Just do what you’ve been practicing.”
LoMauro, another former level-10 club gymnast, competed for Newport as a freshman, skipped the last two seasons but returned this year. On floor, her lithe moves and facial expressiveness created one of the day’s highlights.
“When I got my floor routine choreographed at the start of the season, I asked for a sassy routine because I felt that best fits my personality,” she said. “At first I thought, umm, I don’t know if I can do this, but I practiced it and practiced it, got more smiles, more sass, and here I am at state with a 9.5.”