Alvarez captures state individual title

TACOMA - One day after the Friday, Feb. 15 Class 3A/2A state gymnastics all-round championships, individual finals qualifications and team competition, all-around runner up Mia Alvarez of Highline led local athletes as the gold medalist on the floor exercise with a 9.625 as part of four top-five all-around competitors who picked up individual event titles on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.
Sophomore gymnast Nykaela Dodson, third in the all-around, claimed the gold medal on beam (9.525).

Junior Olivia Bannerot of 3A/2A team champion Enumclaw (fourth in all-around) swung to the bars title at 9.375 while Kelsey Jaquish of Kamiakin, fifth in the all-around captured the vault title by edging out Alvarez and Bannerot, who deadlocked for second at 9.625.

After devoting her junior year to club gymnastics in order to refine her skills and reach level 10, the Pirate athlete returned to high school competition for this, her senior year. Her next outings will be back with club gymnastics.

"My floor skill has always been there," she said. "It's been a good week.The double back on my first tumbling pass has been the key. I'm kind of sad because I won't be seeing my high school teammates in the gym...I'm going to miss their smiles."

Friday all-around competition featured an Alvarez 9.25 on the uneven parallel bars, a fourth place 9.475 on beam, and a fifth place 9.525 on vault. Her 9.475 on floor just missed the top five.

In other Saturday event finals, Alvarez soared to a 9.625 silver medal tie on the vault, a 9.4 tie for fifth on the balance beam and an 8.825 sixth place on bars.

The top eight placings earned medals.

Alvarez is looking to qualify for the Washington state team of senior high schoolers that will go on to national high school seniors championships in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.

All-around champion Kristen Rodal also earned medals in Saturday individual event competition.

Rodal balanced to a 9.5 second place beam, a fourth place 9.15 on bars, a seventh place tie at 9.4 on the vault and a ninth place 9.35 tie on the floor.

"All through the whole year, it's been definitely unforgettable," said Rodal, who will move on to Western Washington University in Bellingham academically. "I've been getting ready for this all-year. It was a great all-around and team competition. Everyone put out their best effort. The floor was great because everyone watches. It's so exciting."

On Friday, Rodal scored a gold medal 37.95 on all-around with a first place 9.7 on the floor. A second place 9.625 on the vault paired with a 9.575 second place tie on the beam and a 9.05 fourth place tie on the bars sent her into this first place position.

Rodal is also working hard to join her level-10 teammate Alvarez for the National Senior Invitational in Fort Myers.

For Highline High School coach Dawn Tessandore, it marked the end of her high school coaching career. This dream team season ended with the Seamount League team title, a third place 3A, 2A district team finish and a sixth place state team standing on Friday.

After coaching her individual event qualifiers for the final time on Saturday, she had some mixed feelings.

"I'm sad," concluded Tessandore. "The girls still did well yesterday and today. But I'm excited to move on to other things, as well."

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