By Rebecca Jepson
With chalked hands, chins confidently lifted and eyes focused on the prize, the gymnasts of Riverside prepare for the landmark meet of the season.
“To place in all-around.”
Halle Haskins, who voiced her team’s goal, undoubtedly spoke for a host of Oregon gymnasts.
But such a prize won’t be easily won.
Twenty-five-plus teams from across the state will be at the event, vying for one of five coveted team trophies.
During the season, in order to qualify for the meet, individual competitors must score a 33.0 all-around (level 3), or 32.0 all-around (levels 4 and 5).
Riverside is off to a great start—30 athletes from The Dalles are headed to the meet.
The team has been training mentally as well as physically.
Head compulsory coach Sarah Smith shed light on the mental aspect of their training.
“This week we challenged the gymnasts to view this competitive season as a race, with state being the finish line,” Smith said. “This perspective helps us stay focused and push hard to the end.”
The team’s focus has already paid off.
Riverside gave a commanding performance on November 8th at the Westside gym in Tigard.
Levels 3 and 4 earned team trophies, level 4 taking second place and level 3 sweeping the competition with first.
Willow Jenkinson had the highest all-around score in the entire level 3 session, an imposing 37.5.
First-place all-around honors also went to teammates Hope Pipkin and Daisy Morales, who rose to the top in their respective age divisions.
The highly-sought “all nines” in each event was achieved by Morales, Jenkinson and Hailey Birch.
Coach Kara Haskins acknowledged that such achievements don’t come easily.
“These girls have worked very hard,” Haskins said. “I’m very proud of all of them. We’ve had several gymnasts this season overcome struggles and fear. That speaks volumes, in my opinion.”
For some, their Achilles Heel has been floor, elements like back tucks presenting a daunting, challenge.
For others, it’s been the uneven bars, with glide kips to conquer and falls to avoid.
Yet others struggle with perfecting their landings on vault or handstands on beam.
They did well in overcoming.
Riverside had multiple wins on bars, top athletes including Birch, Victoria Lee Valcov, Gigi Hiser, Dylan Vaivoda and Ava Krentz.
With poise and power, Jenkinson, Valcov, Gabbe Haskins and Abby Beal took first place on floor.
On vault, first went to Pipkin and Birch, and on beam, Morales and Aurora Baker.
The meet in Tigard told the story of a team prepared.
Sophia Blair stated that the gymnasts have been “helping each other get over their fears.”
Zoe Dunn added that they “encourage each other.”
Coach Smith summed it up.
“We are excited and ready for this final meet!”
Riverside Gymnastics is a nonprofit with recreational and competitive programs for boys and girls.
For information, go to www.riverside-gym.org or call 541-993-8625 or visit the gym at 2221 River Road in The Dalles.
Riverside Gymnastics Results at the Last Chance Meet in Tigard on November 8, 2015
Acasia Vann: vault-9.025, 3rd; bars-7.55; beam-7.45; floor-7.725; All Around-31.975
Allise Hull: vault-9.35, 5th; bars-8.775, 6th; beam-8; floor-8.7; All Around-34.85, 7th
Aurora Baker: vault-8.85; bars-9.125, 3rd; beam-9.025, 1st; floor-7.925; All Around-34.925, 4th
Ava Krentz: vault-9.4, 4th; bars-9.55, 1st; beam-8.5, 4th; floor-8.9, 2nd; All Around-36.35, 2nd
Bailey Holycross: vault-8.55; bars-8.475; beam-7.75; floor-7.95; All Around-32.725
Brooke Awmiller: vault-8.55; bars-8.65, 6th; beam-8.1; floor-8.5; All Around-33.6, 8th
Dylan Vaivoda: vault-8.9; bars-9.275, 1st; beam-8.5, 5th; floor-8.725; All Around-35.4, 5th
Emily Liberidhs: vault-9.375, 3rd; bars-9, 4th; beam-7.7; floor-8.475; All Around-34.55, 8th
Emma Wolf: bars-7.925; beam-7.4
Finley Jenkinson: vault-9.05; bars-8.825, 4th; beam-8.4, 3rd; floor-8.65, 6th; All Around-34.925, 6th
Gigi Hiser: vault-8.775; bars-9.475, 1st; beam-8.8, 4th; floor-8.7; All Around-35.75, 5th
Hannah Adams: vault-9.1, 4th; bars-8.475, 5th; beam-8.35, 6th; floor-8.275; All Around-34.2, 5th
Hope Pipkin: vault-9.5, 1st; bars-9.275, 2nd; beam-9, 2nd; floor-8.65, 5th; All Around-36.425, 1st
Mia Byers: bars-8.7; beam-8.3; floor-8.875, 6th
Sahale Pfriem: vault-8.85; bars-7.8; beam-7.9; floor-8.4; All Around-32.95
Sydney Krentz: vault-8.7; bars-8.525; beam-7.7; floor-9.1, 5th; All Around-34.025
Taylor Armstrong: vault-8.75; bars-8.5; beam-7.25; floor-7; All Around-31.3
Victoria Lee-Valkov: vault-8.5; bars-9.4, 1st; beam-8.1; floor-9.275, 1st; All Around-35.275, 3rd
Willow Jenkinson: vault-9.5, 2nd; bars-9.375, 2nd; beam-9.125, 2nd; floor-9.5, 1st; All Around-37.5, 1st
Abby Beal: vault-8.95, 3rd; bars-8.675, 5th; beam-9.1, 3rd; floor-9.5, 1st; All Around-36.225, 4th
Daisy Morales: vault-9.175, 2nd; bars-9.35, 2nd; beam-9.375, 1st; floor-9.275, 4th; All Around-37.175, 1st
Gabbe Haskins: vault-8.7, 5th; bars-8.575, 5th; beam-8.95, 4th; floor-9.35, 1st; All Around-35.575, 3rd
Hailey Birch: vault-9.225, 1st; bars-9.375, 1st; beam-9.05, 4th; floor-9.4, 2nd; All Around-37.05, 2nd
Marissa Baldy: vault-8.425, 6th; bars-8.6; beam-9.15, 4th; floor-9.4, 4th; All Around-35.575, 8th
McKailla Tyler: vault-8.45; bars-8.95, 4th; beam-7.45; floor-9.1, 5th; All Around-33.95, 7th
Ashley Quisenberry: vault-8.9; bars-8.7, 4th; beam-9.1, 4th; floor-8.575; All Around-35.275, 7th
Halle Haskins: vault-9.225, 4th; bars-8.05, 5th; beam-9.225, 2nd; floor-9.075, 5th; All Around-35.575, 2nd
Nina Sanchez-Macias: vault-9.35, 2nd; bars-8.95, 3rd; beam-8.95, 5th; floor-9.05, 5th; All Around-36.25, 2nd