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Summit gymnastics shatters season high

RICHARD CHITTICK
Shauna Neely strikes a pose Wednesday with the finish of her floor routine during the Lady Tigers' home gymnastics meet versus Thomas Jefferson.
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FARMER’S KORNER – The Summit High School gymnastics team ran, bounced, tumbled, balanced and vaulted its way to one of the best team scores in the program’s history on Wednesday.In a dual against Thomas Jefferson, the Tigers scored 166.425 points, shattering the season high of 164.975 set at the Jeffco Varsity League Meet on Oct. 22. “I wasn’t expecting a 166, so I was really excited when we found out our team score,” said sophomore Leilani Bruntz. “It’s a self-esteem booster. Our major goal this season was to make it to states as a team, and I really think we have a good chance now.” The energy started building early when Summit sophomore Emma Koenig posted a personal best on beam (8.45), an event she has struggled with all season.In the next event, Amelia Meier impressed her teammates, her coaches and the audience by throwing a full in her first tumbling run on the floor.

The move requires a full flip and a full twist, and when Meier stuck the landing, the entire gymnasium erupted in a loud ovation.”I had a lot of adrenaline,” the SHS junior said. “I was excited to finally do it in competition.”Added head coach Beth Flaherty, “I knew she could do it. Even in practice she hasn’t stood it up.” Meier joins Bruntz, Lauren Biegler and Kelly Scholl as the only Tigers who can throw the move on the Summit High gymnasium floor. Biegler, a sophomore, set a personal best in the all-around competition of 35.4. Along the way, she posted a 9.075 in beam, a 9.025 in bars and an 8.95 in floor.

The team score is well shy of the teams’ all-time high of 171.2, set at a quad in Alamosa on Oct. 26, 2002, but Flaherty is convinced that the local judging, which uses the services of Front Range judges, is much stricter than it is in the outlying parts of the state. “Definitely, for a Front Range (judges’) score, this is one of our best,” she said. As of Monday morning, the team didn’t know whether the dual would take place, as it was arranged very quickly to replace the Mountain League Open Meet. That meet would have taken place Saturday, but it was canceled earlier in the season.Though the Spartans provided very little competition, scoring 98.2 points, the dual worked out well for Summit because the team score increases the Tigers’ opportunity to qualify for the 4A state meet as a team. The top six out of Colorado’s 17 4A gymnastics programs advance to state as a team. The meet will take place Nov. 6 at Thornton High School.

Now begins the wait, as Flaherty and her team will not find out until Monday whether the team has made the cut. The final standings are determined by the Colorado High School Activities Association by averaging the teams’ top three scores from the season. Individuals can also make it to state by posting qualifying scores in any given event twice during the season. Bruntz, Biegler and Koenig are all qualified this way in the all-around competition, and several more students are qualified in individual events. Last year more than half the team qualified as individuals, but Flaherty knows this year’s team is well on its way to topping last year’s.”I’m super optimistic,” said Flaherty. “In my heart I know we are one of the top six.” Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at rchittick@summitdaily.com.


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