The Overland co-op gymnastics team was smaller than usual for the 2022 season due to some non-graduation losses — and suffered a key injury along the way — but banded together for another strong finish at the Class 5A state meet.
Mattea Dolan, the 5A all-around state champion in 2020 and a fifth-place finisher last season, was among the key losses, while junior Maya Richman suffered a torn knee ligament and was lost before the postseason.
Still, a variety of gymnasts stepped up for coach Lisa Sparrow’s team to fill out the spots on the 2022 Sentinel Colorado All-Aurora Gymnastics Team, as determined by performance at the state championship competition at Thornton High School.
Leading the way is junior Kyla Burke, who stepped up her performance this season and took the team lead as she grabbed all-around honors on the All-Aurora team, as well as the slots for the vault and the uneven bars.
Burke — who competed at state as a freshman, but missed out on the meet last season due to a late season injury — earned a score of 36.825 at the state meet that matched the score that won her the Region 1 meet a week earlier, but left her fifth in state. The Colorado Early Colleges student was also the Centennial/Continental League all-around runner-up by a mere 0.50 of a point.
Overland opened its state rotation with the vault and it proved to a less than ideal start to the competition as nearly every participant scored lower than they had in the regular season. None of the Trailblazers earned their way into the individual event finals (which required a top-15 score), while Burke registered far and away the top score of 9.200 that was 25th among the 72 gymnasts in the event during the team competition.
Burke did make her way into the individual event finals on the uneven bars, where her team competition score of 9.275 was seventh-best on the night. That same score in the individual event finals would have earned her a medal (top eight), but she finished with an 8.675 in her final attempt that put her 14th.
Overland ended the team competition with the floor exercise, in which four different Trailblazers earned their way into the individual event finals. Of those four, sophomore Ryann Walline (an Overland student) emerged on top and earned the team’s only medal with a seventh-place finish. Walline led her teammates with a 9.400 in the team competition and followed that with a 9.300 in the event finals.
Promising freshman Ainsley Renner missed the majority of the season due to injury, but she made the most of her limited time of competition. Renner (a Grandview student) returned in time to compete at regionals and also at the state meet, where she was the team’s top performer on the balance beam. She scored 9.325 in the team competition (sixth-best), while her 8.650 in the individual event final left her 14th.
Overland expects to return all of the All-Aurora performers next season and hopes for a return to health for Richman plus the potential arrival of some impact freshmen, which has been the case in recent years.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 SENTINEL COLORADO ALL-AURORA GYMNASTICS TEAM
All-around — Kyla Burke, jr., Overland; Floor exercise — Ryann Walline, soph., Overland; Vault — Kyla Burke, jr., Overland; Balance beam — Ainsley Renner, fr., Overland; Uneven bars — Kyla Burke, jr., Overland
Honorable mention: Emeley Brain, jr., Overland (floor exercise); Sydney Stadler, sr., Overland (floor exercise)