THORNTON | Broomfield earned some comfortable separation on its way to a second straight Class 5A gymnastics state team championship, but Overland was part of a tight contest near the top of the standings in competition Thursday at Thornton High School.
Coach Lisa Sparrow’s Trailblazers earned their top score of the entire season — a total of 178.975 points — to finish in a tie with Arvada West for fourth place behind Broomfield, Mountain Range (180.950) and Thornton (179.225).
Junior Kyla Burke earned a score of 36.825 points to finish fifth in the all-around competition to lead the way for a small Overland team, which improved on a sixth-place finish from the previous season and did so without junior Maya Richman, who was lost during the season due to injury.
Sparrow was pleased with the result, especially considering the Trailblazers had a disappointing rotation on vault to open the meet, but rebounded and ended with a big performance on the floor to finish on a high note.
“It’s hard in a meet when you start off with an event that was not good and not what we were hoping to do,” Sparrow said, referencing the vault, in which the best Overland score was Burke in 25th.
“They took that every event they went out and they did a little better,” she added. “They were clawing themselves out of the hole from the first event. By the time we got to the floor they were rolling and had some confidence back.”
The absence of Richman, one of the team’s best on the vault, definitely was felt in the opening event and the Trailblazers then moved on to a better performance on the balance beam that was led by freshman Ainsley Renner.
Renner — who missed nearly the entire season due to injury, but returned to compete on the balance beam at regionals — earned a score of 9.235 in the event that was sixth-highest on the day and earned her a spot in the individual event finals at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The uneven bars also were a positive with Burke’s seventh-place score of 9.275 leading the way, which punched her ticket to the individual events as well.
Overland has a long tradition of strong performances in the floor exercise and this was no exception, as four of the six Trailblazers to compete finished in the top 15 and earned their way into the individual event finals.
Sophomore Ryann Walline led the way with a seventh-place score of 9.400 followed by senior Sydney Stadler in eighth (9.350), Burke in ninth (9.325) and junior Emeley Brain in a tie for 15th (9.225).
“Floor is where we love to show off and perform, be clean and do great performances,” Sparrow said. “With the rotation that we had, we couldn’t have ended on a better event. Our girls walked away and were happy and positive. They could keep the floor fresh in their mind and let the rest of it go.”
Sparrow was pleased with the volume of qualifiers for individual event finals.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 CLASS 5A STATE GYMNASTICS MEET
Nov. 3 at Thornton H.S.
Team scores: 1. Broomfield 183.500 points; 2. Mountain Range 180.950; 3. Thornton 179.225; T4. OVERLAND 178.975; T4. Arvada West 178.975; 6. Ponderosa 177.425; 7. Pomona 176.725; 8. Lakewood 176.600; 9. Chatfield 175.625; 10. Heritage 173.950; 11. Cherry Creek 127.550; 12. Columbine 67.225
All-around (top five): 1. Lauren Burt (Lakewood), 38.325 points; 2. Adia Friesen (Chatfield), 37.600; 3. Kayla Powell (Arvada West), 37.200; 4. Mia Ritchie (Broomfield), 36.825; 5. KYLA BURKE (OVERLAND) 36.825