Mount Rainier individuals move on to state gym

Mount Rainier's sixth place team total of 162.875 was not enough to qualify to state, but a trio of talented athletes attained the opportunity to compete as individuals in the 2013 state gymnastics meet held at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall on Feb 15-16.

Emerald Ridge scored an impressive 176.375 to fly away with the No. 1 seed to state. Thomas Jefferson edged out Mead of Spokane 169.7 to 169.2 for the final seed from the eight-team West Central III/Greater Spokane League VIII bi-district meet held at Mount Rainier on Sat., Feb. 9.

"We had a rough start on beam, but did really well on the other three events," said Ram head coach Ali Kestle. "It just was not enough. Katya and Kerrie are going and so is sophomore Ava Welch. I'm extremely happy for Emeral Ridge. We're pulling for them."

The top three all-arounds from a non-state team qualified as well as the top 10 individuals on each event from non-state contingents.

Katya Komissarova qualified for state gymnastics as the first all-around qualifier from a non-state team. Her overall fifth-place tie score of 35.5 was built on strong sixth-place finishes in the uneven parallel bars and floor exercise. On the bars, she scored 8.45 despite a fall during her routine while she posted 9.525 on the floor.

"It was the emotional suuport of my friends and teammates that helped," she noted. "I was really comfortable on floor in practice."

Sophomore Ram gymnast Welch qualified on the vault with an overall third place finish of 9.25 and became an added qualifier on the bars with her 8.325 seventh place.

"This was not my best," she admiited. "But it was good enough. I need to clean up my release on the bars and vault."

Completing the Mount Rainier trio was senior Kerrie Heckel.

Heckel returned to state with a fourth place tie of 8.675 on the bars and a sixth place tie of 9.525 on the floor exercise.

"This was my best bars routine I've ever completed," she said. "I added new skills to other skills that I've never done all together. I was comfortable in warm up with my new release move and a new dismount."

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