By Rebecca Jepson
Performance under pressure took on a whole new meaning.
The vast Portland Expo Center, dubbed “so big” by Riverside gymnasts, was stormed by 467 athletes from all over the state.
They marched in behind 27 colorful banners—too many teams to fit on the floor exercise mat.
Such intimidating competition and daunting surroundings might have thrown the gymnasts off their game.
But it failed to do so with Riverside.
“I felt like I was really focused, prepared and ready for it,” Gabbe Haskins said.
She was not alone in the sentiment.
Ten of her teammates joined her in achieving personal bests at the meet, keeping their composure during critical moments.
For Haskins, the event was the culmination of a season of progress.
Her scores rose at every meet during this season.
“Competing is not just about getting the awards, it’s about self-improvement,” Coach Candy Smith said.
The team claimed both at the meet.
Four Riverside gymnasts were all-around champions in their age divisions —Saige Brennan, Bailey Jenkinson, Ava Krentz and Daisy Morales.
“It was an awesome accomplishment!” Krentz said. “I was so happy.”
Her enthusiasm was echoed by Jenkinson. “I was really excited—I didn’t expect to get first!”
When asked what it felt like, getting called up to the podium, Morales replied, “Really, really good, because of all the things my parents have done.”
Her parents are among many Riverside families who’ve sacrificed for their young athletes, driving to and from the gym three days a week, budgeting for meet expenses and traveling all over the state.
Another sacrifice involved in the sport is persevering through hardships, something Sydney Stanley is quite familiar with.
“I broke my toe four weeks before state!” she exclaimed.
Despite her injury, the indomitable Stanley came close to her personal best at the meet and achieved second place all-around.
Teammates Halle Haskins, Hailey Birch and Sydney Krentz had a great meet too. Both Haskins and Birch took first on floor, with Birch also claiming the award on vault.
Krentz came in fourth all-around and scored 9’s in every event.
Perhaps some of her success can be attributed to her sister Ava’s hearty support.
“She lost her voice after I competed,” Krentz said. “And I told her, ‘Ava, you shouldn’t cheer for me that loud anymore!’”
But loud cheers were definitely in order for the entire level 3 team, who won a fourth place trophy.
“The level three team blew me away with their focus at this meet,” Coach Sarah Smith said. “It is amazing to have a group of beginning competitors with as much maturity in their performance as these gymnasts showed.”
One such focused competitor was all-around champ Brennan.
In addition to the win in her age division, she rose above 220 other gymnasts to claim the second-highest level 3 score in the state.
“It was a cool experience,” she said.
Undoubtedly she spoke for the whole team.
For more information, go to www.riverside-gym.org or call 541-993-8625.
Riverside Results at State
Portland Expo Center, Nov. 20-22
Allise Hull: vault-9.4, 5th; bars-9.375, 4th; beam-8.9, 8th; floor-9.025, 5th; All Around-36.7, 4th
Aurora Baker: vault-9.25, 6th; bars-9.25, 7th; beam-9.15, 4th; floor-8.6; All Around-36.25, 6th
Ava Krentz: vault-9.55, 1st; bars-9.575, 2nd; beam-9.325, 2nd; floor-9.15, 1st; All Around-37.6, 1st
Dylan Vaivoda: vault-8.2; bars-9.35, 5th; beam-9.075, 7th; floor-8.9; All Around-35.475, 11th
Ellie Rinella: vault-8.925; bars-9.175, 8th; beam-7.1; floor-8.975; All Around-34.175
Emily Liberidhs: vault-8.8; bars-8.775; beam-8.75; floor-8.525; All Around-34.85
Finley Jenkinson: vault-9.15, 7th; bars-9.275, 6th; beam-8.6; floor-8.625; All Around-35.65
Gigi Hiser: bars-9.3, 6th; beam-9.2, 6th; floor-8.6
Hannah Adams: vault-9.25, 3rd; bars-8.9; beam-8.9, 7th; floor-8.6; All Around-35.65, 11th
Hope Pipkin: vault-9.375, 4th; bars-9.6, 2nd; beam-9.3, 3rd; floor-8.8; All Around-37.075, 3rd
Mia Byers: vault-8.75; bars-9.025; beam-8.075; floor-8.6; All Around-34.45
Saige Brennan: vault-9.6, 2nd; bars-9.7, 1st; beam-9.4, 1st; floor-9.35, 2nd; All Around-38.05, 1st
Sydney Krentz: vault-9.1, 9th; bars-9.3, 6th; beam-9.2, 2nd; floor-9.15, 8th; All Around-36.75, 4th
Sydney Stanley: vault-9.25, 3rd; bars-9.55, 3rd; beam-9.1, 5th; floor-8.9; All Around-36.8, 2nd
Victoria Lee-Valkov: vault-8.85; bars-9.15; beam-8.9, 7th; floor-8.875; All Around-35.775, 9th
Bailey Jenkinson: vault-9.5, 3rd; bars-9.575, 2nd; beam-9.25, 3rd; floor-9.35, 4th; All Around-37.675, 1st
Abby Beal: vault-9.175, 5th; bars-8.85, 7th; beam-8.575, 9th; floor-9.45, 4th; All Around-36.05, 5th
Annika Baumgarten: vault-8.7; bars-8.225; beam-7.65; floor-8; All Around-33.575
Daisy Morales: vault-9, 4th; bars-9.5, 1st; beam-9.05, 4th; floor-9.225, 6th; All Around-36.775, 1st
Gabbe Haskins: vault-8.775; bars-8.925, 7th; beam-9.05, 8th; floor-9.125, 6th; All Around-35.875, 6th
Hailey Birch: vault-9.225, 1st; bars-8.95, 5th; beam-7.625; floor-9.5, 1st; All Around-35.3, 8th
Marissa Baldy: vault-8.65; bars-8.6; beam-9.3, 2nd; floor-8.9; All Around-35.45, 10th
McKailla Tyler: vault-8.75; bars-9.275, 2nd; beam-8.2; floor-8.7; All Around-34.975, 8th
Ashley Quisenberry: vault-8.85; bars-8.65, 5th; beam-8.8, 6th; floor-8.8; All Around-35.1, 7th
Halle Haskins: vault-9.225, 2nd; bars-7.8; beam-8.7, 2nd; floor-9.075, 1st; All Around-34.8, 3rd
Nina Sanchez-Macias: vault-9.15, 5th; bars-9.1, 3rd; beam-8.4; floor-8.8, 8th; All Around-35.45, 4th
Sofia Blair: bars-8.1, 6th; beam-8.45, 3rd
Zoe Dunn: bars-8.325; beam-9.175, 2nd