Tough-luck Tiger gymnasts still shorthanded | SummitDaily.com

Tough-luck Tiger gymnasts still shorthanded

BRYCE EVANS
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado

New meets, same results. It seems the Summit High gymnastics team can’t catch a break this season, whether it’s the scoring or the onslaught of injuries that have kept many of the top Tigers grounded all season.

Summit had its highest score of the season Tuesday – a 149.575 in a league meet at Standley Lake – but without three of their top gymnasts, the Tigers were still below the type of scores their hoping for and the type of scores that will get them into the state meet for the eighth straight season.

“It’s been an interesting year so far, but I’m not deterred in any way, I’m not conceding anything,” SHS head coach Lauren Johnson said. “We just need to get the right combination.”

Really, the Tigers just need something to go their way this fall.

They have had no more than six of their 10 gymnasts compete in any meet. Five are needed to accumulate a team score.

Tuesday alone, Summit was without seniors Jordan Smith, Haley Harvey and captain Anne DeJulio, all out for various reasons. Those three were all part of Summit’s state squad a year ago, and without them, the Tigers are leaning heavily on a number of freshmen and JV athletes to fill the void.

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Luckily, one of the lone (positive) surprises for the team this year has been the consistent performance of Tessa Gunnin. The freshman, who’s nursing injuries of her own that prevent her from competing on vault, led the Tigers on three events Tuesday – floor, bars and beam – and hit a state-qualifying score with her floor routine.

“She’s done a great job for us,” Johnson said. “She’s been one of our highest scorers.”

Also with a big night at Standley Lake was junior exchange student Aylin Tuna, who competed in all four events for the first time all season. Tuna had the highest all-around score for the Tigers with a 31.

All in all, though, the Tigers’ scores haven’t been at all what Johnson – and her gymnasts, for that matter – have expected. And some of that may not be their fault.

Johnson said her athletes are hitting the same, if not harder, routines than they performed last year and receiving much lower scores for them. Part of that can be chalked up to some rule changes across Colorado high school gymnastics, and another part may be the slew of new judges being trained in this season.

It could also be their schedule. The Tigers, who are in the Jeffco League, compete primarily against 5A teams. Summit is 4A.

“When we’re competing with these 5A schools, the judges see them doing all these tricks and routines that our girls don’t do,” Johnson explained. “It seems like that affects our scores quite a bit.”

In a meet Sept. 23 against 5A Columbine, the shorthanded Tigers hit a number of routines but wound up with a team score of 145.375.

“There’s a little sense of frustration with our girls right now, because they’re getting scores they don’t expect. They’re hitting the routines and just not getting the scores.”

Johnson said there’s an easy solution, though: Her team simply needs to get healthy and compete at the level they feel they can. If they do that, she feels they’ll have little trouble drastically upping their team scores.

The team is off until Oct. 7, and Johnson feels the time off is well-needed in order to get everyone back healthy. And maybe then the Tigers can start catching some breaks.

“I still don’t think I’m out of the running (for state qualification) at all,” Johnson said. “The pressure’s on. We have six meets left to get our three highest scores to make it state. If we have all our top girls competing, we should improve dramatically.”

The team’s meet next week is at home at 6 p.m.