AURORA | Lisa Sparrow said she was “swinging big” when she projected what her Overland co-op gymnastics team was capable of in Thursday’s team portion of the Class 5A state meet.
The Trailblazers came up just a bit short of Sparrow’s projection of 185.55 points in competition at Thornton High School, but just barely, as they racked up a 185.35 — by far their best score of the season — to win the program’s first state championship since 2014.
Senior Mabry Robinson (Smoky Hill) posted the top score on the floor exercise and vault, fellow senior Autumn Ivester (Cherokee Trail) had the top mark on the beam and sophomore Mattea Dolan (Grandview) finished in the top six of all four events for Overland, which snapped a string of four straight second-place finishes with the program’s sixth all-time state championship.
“We knew what these girls were capable of all year long, we’ve just been sitting back and waiting for them to do it and they did it tonight,” Sparrow said. “When I wrote down what I thought they could have, I was swinging big and that’s what they came and did.
“They were so focused and had so much energy all night.”
Part of the faith that Sparrow and the coaching staff had in the team came because of experience with seniors Robinson, Ivester, Bailey Rodriguez (Eaglecrest) and Kate Decker (Cherokee Trail) in the lineup along with Dolan, who had state experience from last year.
The veteran group handled the new format of the state meet, which included just seven teams — the three winners from regionals a week earlier and the next four highest scoring teams — along with a group of individuals and featured a very small number of spectators.
Sparrow thought the rotation of events fell perfectly for Overland, which began with its weakest event — the uneven bars — followed by the floor exercise, vault and balance beam and followed Broomfield, which had the state’s top score coming in.
Overland made it through the bars, led by Dolan’s sixth-place score of 9.43, then hit its strongest two events, beginning with the floor.
Robinson — last season’s individual 5A state champion on the floor — posted the night’s best score of 9.83 and led an Overland sweep of the top three spots with Ivester (9.68) and Dolan (9.58) behind her.
Robinson and Dolan then went 1-2 on the vault and Ivester and Rodriguez finished in that same order on the balance beam, which had a few rough spots, but wasn’t enough to cost the Trailblazers the championship.
“When it was over, everybody had this vibe that they thought we had won, but I wasn’t going to believe it,” Sparrow said. “The Broomfield coach walked by and basically told me that we beat them, but I was just holding on until they announced the final results.”
The top 12 scorers in each event qualified for the 5A individual event finals Saturday and there will be plenty of Overland representation in that session as well.
Dolan and Robinson qualified for the individual event finals in all four events, while Rodriguez and Ivester made it both the vault and beam and Decker qualified on the floor.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2021 CLASS 5A STATE GYMNASTICS MEET
Team scores: 1. OVERLAND 185.325 points; 2. Broomfield 184.850; 3. Mountain Range 179.000; 4. Chatfield 175.525; 5. Pomona 174.850; 6. Cherry Creek 169.275
Uneven bars: 1. Darcy Jew (Broomfield) 9.75; 2. Lakoda Sherry (Lakewood) 9.75; 3. Brenna Calvo (Broomfield) 9.7; 4. Isabelle Gee (Lakewood) 9.7; 5. Alyssa Willmarth (Broomfield) 9.53; 6. MATTEA DOLAN (OVERLAND) 9.43; 7. MABRY ROBINSON (OVERLAND) 9.28; 8. Gabrielle Miller (Pomona) 9.13; 9. Mariah Schmeling (Heritage) 9.05; 10. Haley Like (Thornton) 9.03; 11. Bridget Gray (Mountain Range) 9; 12. Gabrielle Hornung (Chatfield) 9; Other Overland results: 13. Kyla Burke 9, 23. Autumn Ivester 8.58, 30. Bailey Rodriguez 8.25, 34. Heidi Mattson 8.15
Floor exercise: 1. MABRY ROBINSON (OVERLAND) 9.83; 2. AUTUMN IVESTER (OVERLAND) 9.68; 3. MATTEA DOLAN (OVERLAND) 9.58; 4. Darcy Jew (Broomfield) 9.53; 5. Isabella Gee (Lakewood) 9.53; 6. Brenna Calvo (Broomfield) 9.48; 7. Kennedy Duff (Chatfield) 9.45; 8. Sophia Pavlidis (Broomfield) 9.43; 9. McKayla Haymes (Chatfield) 9.4; 10. Sophia Griffith (Boulder) 9.4; 11. KATE DECKER (OVERLAND) 9.33; 12. Alyssa Willmarth (Broomfield) 9.33; Other Overland results: 13. Ella Baldensperger 9.28; 28. Bailey Rodriguez 9
Vault: 1. MABRY ROBINSON (OVERLAND) 9.65; 2. MATTEA DOLAN (OVERLAND) 9.63; 3. Sophia Pavlidis (Broomfield) 9.55; 4. Laura Zipanic (Rocky Mountain) 9.45; 5. Darcy Jew (Broomfield) 9.45; 6. Gabrielle Hornung (Chatfield) 9.4; 7. BAILEY RODRIGUEZ (OVERLAND) 9.35; 8. Mariah Schmeling (Heritage) 9.35; 9. Maren Irvin (Broomfield) 9.3; 10. AUTUMN IVESTER (OVERLAND) 9.3; 11. Alyssa Willmarth (Broomfield) 9.3; 12. Bridget Gray (Mountain Range) 9.28; Other Overland results: 17. Kyla Burke 9.03, 28. Kate Decker 8.75
Beam: 1. AUTUMN IVESTER (OVERLAND) 9.58; 2. BAILEY RODRIGUEZ (OVERLAND) 9.53; 3. Isabella Gee (Lakewood) 9.33; 4. MATTEA DOLAN (OVERLAND) 9.25; 5. Melina Andretich (Mountain Range) 9.23; 6. Sophia Griffith (Broomfield) 9.2; 7. Callie Ostasz (Chatfield) 9.18; 8. Isabelle Benkowski (Broomfield) 9.1; 9. Gabrielle Miller (Pomona) 9.08; 10. Kenna Crookham (Mountain Range) 9.05; 11. Haley Like (Thornton) 9.05; 12. MABRY ROBINSON (OVERLAND) 9.05; Other Overland result: 18. Kate Decker 8.78