BELLEVUE — The result, Camas winning a third consecutive Class 4A state gymnastics championship, was not a surprise. And for Woodinville coach Kathie Koch, whose squad was the runner-up to the Papermakers for the third year in a row, it was not a disappointment.
“We want to do our best in every meet,” Koch said, “and if we do our best, that feels like a win.”
Camas, deep with club-level talent, cruised to its latest state title with a score of 182.45 Friday night at Sammamish High School. Woodinville took second with a total of 178.325, followed by North Creek of Bothell (173.475) and Mead of Spokane (170.325).
Rylye Anderson of Puyallup won the Class 4A all-around title with a 38.3. Newport senior Anna Bencke was second (37.825).
The Class 4A individual event finals take place Saturday at 11 a.m.
Koch knows what it’s like to have a dominant team. Woodinville has twice won four straight Class 4A state titles, 2014-17 and 2007-10, and has placed first or second at state every year except one for the past 14 seasons.
Koch’s gymnasts knew the odds of toppling Camas were small.
“The girls are very aware of that,” Koch said. “We’ve talked about it. We’ve been in the opposite position, so it’s kind of our turn not to be the top team. But we took some motivation from Washington gymnastics. This year they won a meet against UCLA that on paper they shouldn’t have won. So never say never.”
Woodinville’s lone senior, Teana Heys, was part of the school’s last state championship squad. She said she and her teammates accepted the challenge head-on.
“It made us work even harder,” said Heys, who recorded a 36.275 all-around score. “It motivated us to work on bigger skills and try to perfect them.”
Junior teammate Sidney Mays finished one position ahead of Heys in the all-around with a 36.45.
Bencke, who posted the meet’s best vault score (9.5), was thrilled with her all-around score.
“It’s the best I’ve ever done in my life,” the senior said. “I hit four for four. I was on my A game the whole night.
“My bars routine was literally the best bars I’ve done in my entire life,” continued Bencke, a math and physics enthusiast who will enroll at Brown this fall. “It was my first event, and it’s always the hardest event for me, so I could go after my other events without worrying about bars any more.”
In the Class 3A/2A individual finals Friday morning, Sammamish freshman Aiko Hirai took home two state titles, winning bars with a 9.5 and tying Amaya Gales of Kamiakin (Kennewick) for first on vault with 9.725.
Lake Washington, the Class 3A/2A team champion, produced two individual champions: sophomore Laly Noriega on beam (9.575) and senior Peyton Yoshida on floor (9.7).
Complete results: Here.