Issaquah looks to re-assume the mantle of gymnastics powerhouse

December 14, 2010

By Staff

Olivia Goree performs to a third-place finish at state on the balance beam in February during the 4A Gymnastics Championships in the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Center. By Don Borin/Stop Action Photography/

The Issaquah High School girls team took on two perennial powers Dec. 8 as the Eagles opened their 4A KingCo Conference season.

Issaquah placed third in the meet against longtime heavyweights Newport and Woodinville, both who have ranked among the state’s top teams over the years. Newport won 3A state titles in 2006, 2007 and 2008 before moving up to the 4A level. Woodinville entered this season having won four straight 4A state titles.

Thus, the Eagles were not competing against Sisters of the Poor.

Newport won the meet with 168.65 points to just edge out Woodinville, which was second with 165.2. Issaquah, which won 3A state titles from 2002-04, was third with a respectable total of 161.6 points.“We did better than we expected. We opened the season with our toughest meet of the season. I was really pleased with the way our team performed,” Issaquah coach Ryan Fleisher said.

Issaquah senior Olivia Goree took third in the all-around with a 34.8. She also placed first on the balance beam with a 9.5. Last year at the 4A state meet, Goree finished seventh in the all-around competition with a 36.05 and was third on the balance beam with a 9.3.

“She is very consistent. She’s been with me all four years and will be one of those kids you hate to see go,” Fleisher said. “I expect to see her do real well again this year.”

Newcomer AJ Bowers, a former club gymnast, should make a big impact for the Eagles this winter, too. Bowers took first place on the vault in last week’s meet with a 9.0.

“She is going to do real well. I think she will surprise some people,” Fleisher said.

Issaquah’s team will be bolstered by some promising freshmen. Among those are Rebecca Chin and Amanda Dumont.

Skyline has big turnout

As the season began, Skyline coach Debbie Gliner said she was excited to see such a large turnout.

“I have the largest Skyline team ever this year,” Gliner said. “With lots of new team members, I’m looking forward to having more depth than the past few years.”

Of the 33 gymnasts who turned out this year, 25 are underclassmen, she said, which means Skyline has a lot of potential.

As the younger girls gain experience, top returning senior Amy Bearman, a standout in all four events, will lead the way, along with captains Taylor McCombs (a junior) and Emily Whan (a senior).

Patriots win opener

Liberty won its first meet of the year Dec. 9, defeating Lake Washington, 138.3-136.5, in a four-team 3A/2A KingCo event. Mercer Island and Interlake were the other teams.

Against Lake Washington, Liberty senior Miranda Jones took first in the all-around with a 30.4. Teammate Hanna Bergam was second at 30.1. Bergam, a junior, took first in the balance beam with an 8.1. Jones took second in the vault, balance beam and floor exercise.

“It looks like they’re going to be just as strong and maybe a little stronger than they were last year,” head coach Lori Copenhaver said.

Sophomore Tia Riley, who has a background in club gymnastics, tied for third in the all-around with a 30.0. She also took first place on the vault with an 8.5. Another promising sophomore is Shawna Sarrett.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or Comment at

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