Short-handed gymnasts tumble to second behind Mount Si

January 19, 2010

By Dan Catchpole

Olivia Goree, Issaquah junior, sticks a solid dismount somersault from the balance beam Jan. 14 during a meet against host Mount Si, Newport and Olympia, earning 9.8 on the apparatus. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School gymnastics team came up just short against Mount Si on Jan. 14, but beat Newport and Olympia in a four-team meet.

It didn’t help that Issaquah’s best gymnast, Risa Fukuda, was out sick and another top performer, Taryn Chin, was competing with a minor injury.

“It was a little bit of a rough meet,” Issaquah coach Ryan Fleisher said.

Still, the Eagles finished only a few points behind the Wildcats, 164.9-161.75.

Issaquah has a younger team this year, with Chin being the only senior on the varsity squad. Last year, the team had four seniors on the squad it sent to the Class 4A state tournament.

Younger and competing in all road meets while the high school undergoes renovations, the Eagles face a difficult road to get back to state.

“This year, we’re not as deep as we’ve been,” Fleisher said.Issaquah is also competing in class 4A for the second year, rather than 3A. The school won three straight 3A state championships under Fleisher.

Without Fukuda, it was up to Olivia Goree to lead the team. The junior showed her typical poise, taking third in the all-around with a combined score of 35.8. Newport’s Kristine Wong finished first with 37.4. Mount Si’s Georgia Reynolds finished second with 36.9.

Goree posted a 9.8 on the balance beam to win the event. It was the night’s highest score. She also finished third on the vault with an 8.5. Goree finished fifth in floor (9.3) and bars (8.2).

Chin had a strong showing. She finished fourth in the vault (8.45), seventh on bars (7.2) and tied for fifth on the beam (9.2).

Despite the obstacles, “we’re having a good season,” Fleisher said.

The team’s seeding in the district tournament will be based on a random drawing this year, so Fleisher said she is more focused on expanding her gymnasts’ skills than the team’s win-loss record.

Getting to state will be more difficult, because only four teams advance in the 4A division, rather than the eight teams that go to state in 3A.

“There are a couple of other strong teams in the KingCo Conference, so we’ll have to see how we do that day” at the district tournament, Fleisher said.

Woodinville continues to be a dominant force.

Issaquah had a smaller than usual group of freshmen come out this year.

“Gymnastics is about waves. You get waves of kids,” Fleisher said.

She said she hopes to recruit more girls next year, when she expects to have a home gym to compete in again.

Dan Catchpole: 392-6434, ext. 246, or editor@snovalleystar.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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