BELLEVUE – With Gina Twenge and Hana Hill, a pair of talented sophomores, on its roster, is it correct to say the Mt. Spokane gymnastics team challenges opponents with a double threat?
Hill, 16, a few months older than the 15-year-old Twenge, shot a mischievous look at her teammate. “More like double trouble,” she said.
The two proved to be a formidable pair Thursday night at the State 3A/2A gymnastics meet at Sammamish High School, with Twenge placing second in the all-around competition with a score of 37.6 points and Hill, at 37.3, finishing seventh.
In one of the most competitive 3A/2A meets in memory, the Wildcats placed fifth in the team standings in a field packed with talented squads.
Holy Names Academy of Seattle won its third straight state title, overcoming a shaky session on vault (three falls) during its second rotation to win with a score of 181.325.
Lake Washington, which defeated Holy Names twice during an unbeaten regular-season campaign, took second (180.275), followed by Kamiakin of Kennewick (179.55), Ballard (177.825) and Mt. Spokane (177.6).
Junior Amaya Gales of Kennewick, a former level-10 club gymnast competing for the first time on a high school team, won the 3A/2A all-around title (37.925), topping Twenge by 0.325.
Adrien Plummer, in her first year as co-head coach at Mt. Spokane with Dana Trantum, considers the outcome a success for an ascending program.
“We came here with a goal of raising our team score from the regional meet (174.9), which we did,” Plummer said. “We did the job we needed to do, so it’s all in the judges’ hands after that. I’m proud of all our gymnasts. We fixed the things that we needed to fix, so I’m happy with how they performed.
“Dana took over the head coaching position five years ago, and we’ve had a lot of really great talent come up through the clubs,” she said. “We’ve been able to take the experience we have as coaches (both formerly coached club gymnasts) to work with our girls who may have less talent to have a really deep team.
“We had a freshman, Sam Mason, perform on three events (posting a 9.225 on beam) and she was amazing. We’ve been progressing every single season with stronger gymnasts and skills.”
Twenge and Hill finished 2-3 on balance beam. Hill tied for fifth in floor exercise, and Twenge placed seventh on uneven bars and, somewhat improbably, on vault.
“She doesn’t love vault as much as the other events,” Plummer said.
She got no argument from Twenge, who performs a difficult Yurchenko pike. “Not a fan,” she said. “It hurts.”
“She struggled a little bit on vault in our last meet, and tonight she was able to go out and get it,” Plummer said. “She was able to get her focus, make some little corrections on form and land her second one.”
“I pulled out my vault, which is challenging,” said Twenge, a former level-10 club gymnast. “My confidence was good tonight. I just knew I needed to do it for the team. So I just pulled it out.”
Twenge and Hill – a past level-8 competitor – have what Twenge describes as a friendly competition, pushing each other.
“We joke about it,” Twenge said, looking at Hill. “But she’s kind of … serious.”
Both gymnasts laughed. “We love competing at high school,” Twenge said. “We think it’s a lot more fun than club.”