Gymnasts keep up with SPSL leader

The Federal Way gymnastics team had one of its best meets of the year Wednesday.

“It was a great meet,” said Federal Way gymnastics coach Bev McIrvin. “The kids did well. They’re pretty impressive.”

Federal Way faced defending state champion Kentwood, which returns the same team members from last season, including two-time all-around state champion senior Liz Grajewski.

Kentwood won the meet with a team score of 178.00. Federal Way was second with a 172.90. Emerald Ridge was third with 151.30 and fourth-place Olympia scored a 140.30.

“We were a lot closer to Kentwood than we have been in the past,” McIrvin said. “We pretty much knew we’d beat the other two teams and Kentwood would be a longshot. It’s not like a basketball game where you don’t know what’s going to happen. You pretty much know where your team stands.”

The Eagles were led by sophomore Lauren Webb, who won the beam event with a 9.3. She was second on the bars with a 9.2, third in the floor exercise with a 9.3 and fourth on the vault with a 9.1. She finished second in the all-around competition with a 36.90. Grajewski won the all-around with a 38.40.

“I felt good,” Webb said. “Just having it be at home made us feel more confident and made it seem more fun.”

Webb is in her first year of high school gymnastics, but competed for the past nine years with the club team Gymnastics Unlimited.

“I didn’t know what to expect (at the high-school level),” Webb said. “I’m happy about being part of the team. It’s a lot of fun. I wasn’t sure how I would do, but I expected to do well. I’m hoping to place at state.”

So far this season, Webb has adjusted well to high school competition. She has turned in the second-best performance in the SPSL on the vault, the second-best performance on the beam, the fifth-best performance on the bars, the sixth best routine in the floor exercise, and the sixth-best all-around score.

While Webb is successful in just about every event, she said her favorite event was the floor exercise

“It’s fun,” she said. “I just like showing off my routine.”

Federal Way finished the meet with the floor exercise. All other teams had completed their events, so the crowd became more involved as they turned their attention to the floor routines.

“The floor was fun because we’re at home,” McIrvin said. “At the end everyone was getting into it. We’re relaxed, having a good time, knowing we’ll do a good job.”

McIrvin said being relaxed was key to the Eagles success.

“They’ve got to be focused enough, but they always do a better job when they’re relaxed and comfortable,” McIrvin said.

Federal Way’s best team event of the night was the bars. Including Webb’s second-place finish, the Eagles placed four athletes in the top five in the event. Federal Way’s Robin Luedke tied for third with teammate Kellie Horrocks with an 8.6. Eagle Jodie Spillner finished fifth with an 8.1. Brianne Hall was seventh on the bars with a 7.7.

“On the bars, we swung really well and hit all our routines clean,” McIrvin said.

Luedke also finished fourth on the beam with an 8.8 and fifth in the floor exercise with a 9.00.

“Our five all-arounds (Webb, Luedke, Hall, Spillner and Horrocks) all had a very good night,” McIrvin said. “They’re getting stronger every week. We look to Lauren as the strongest, but all of them are up there with her.”

Luedke is getting back to full strength after suffering a knee injury earlier in the season.

“It’s really exciting being on the beam, being able to do stuff,” Luedke said. “I like flipping higher and seeing the ground. I’m really excited this year. We have strong people and we’re performing to our best. And if we don’t, we go back to the gym and work harder. It’s a nice atmosphere. We just want to be our best.”

Decatur and Jefferson

Decatur won with a 172.9 and Jefferson was second with a 169.7 at Wednesday’s gymnastics meet at Auburn Riverside. The host team Auburn Riverside was third with 157.6 and Kent Meridian was fourth with a 152.05.

Jefferson’s Alyssa Fox won the all-around competition with a 36.75. Decatur’s Kelly Miller was second with a 36.1 and Kelly McKay was third with a 35.55. Fox won the bars with a 9.3 and the beam with a 9.65.

Fox has the best score in the South Puget Sound League on the beam this year, a 9.8 she earned on Dec. 13. She turned in the second best score on the bars, a 9.35, and is ranked fourth in the floor exercise with a 9.55. Fox also ranks fourth in the SPSL this season with an all-around score of 37.10.

Decatur swept the top three places on the vault. McKay was first with a 9.4, Miller was second with a 9.2 and Jamie Decker was third with a 9.0. McKay also won the floor exercise with a 9.15.

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