Sports

Federal Way: Best in state?

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The Federal Way Eagles finished as the third best team in Washington last year. And they were not real pleased.

That’s what happens when you have developed into one of the better gymnastics programs in the state. Coach Bev McIrvin hopes to improve that finish by a couple spots this year and she has the weapons to do so.

McIrvin returns three of the gymnasts that helped the Eagles to their undefeated regular season — Lauren Webb, Brianne Hall and Leslie McKinnon.

“We plan to build on the returners, work with the newcomers to bring each gymnast to their fullest potential and, in turn, the team will strive to maintain a strong tradition of success,” McIrvin said.

Webb is the most highly decorated returner for the Eagles. The senior finished up in a tie for second in the all-around competition at the Class 4A state championships and won an individual state title on the uneven parallel bars.

The Eagles will, most likely, be battling the Sumner Spartans for the South Puget Sound League championship. The two teams meet for the first time Jan. 7 at Kentwood and will compete again Jan. 28 at Sumner. Rogers is also a team that could make some noise in the standings, according to coaches around the league.

Federal Way will host its first meet of the season Wednesday against Emerald Ridge and Kentlake.

Jefferson

The Raiders had one of the better teams in the area a season ago and coach Debbie Hunter hopes to improve on Jefferson’s sixth-place finish at the West Central District meet.

“It could be interesting,” Hunter said.

The Raiders return three gymnasts with state championship experience in Sara Cherian, Andrea Kasper and Stacy Lyver. Cherian specializes in the uneven bars and floor exercise, Kasper excels in the vault and the uneven bars and Lyver competes in the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

Hunter will also be counting on newcomer Nicora Long, who comes into the program as a solid all-around competitor.

“We have a lot of inexperience after the first four,” Hunter said. “But we have strong senior leadership.”

Jefferson will take on Kentwood, Beamer and Puyallup at Puyallup High School tonight.

Decatur

The Gators lost a lot of their top talent from last year’s squad that was one fall on the balance beam away from qualifying for the Class 4A state championships. Coach Mandy Tommervik lost six seniors to graduation and also lost Amy Becker two weeks ago after she quit the team to participate in elite cheerleading.

“This is definitely going to be a rebuilding year with all our young ones,” Tommervik said. “But we have four girls that have competed in club gymnastics in the past. They are just trying to get their skills back.”

Tommervik will be counting on seniors Amanda Hastings and Mary Koenig and junior Jen Ashton to score all-around points, along with newcomers Chantael Duke, Lindsey Warren, Carly Jones and Marva Tate.

“We have about 20 girls turning out,” she said. “But its hard coming up with new routines and skills with all the new girls.”

According to Tommervik, the team to beat in the South Puget Sound League will be the Federal Way Eagles. Sumner and Rogers should also be strong, she said.

The Gators opened their SPSL schedule Wednesday and take on Kentridge, Kent-Meridian and Auburn Riverside tonight.

Beamer

The Todd Beamer Titan gymnastics team is young and inexperienced. But what else would you expect from a first-year school without any seniors.

New coach Michelle Thompson will be counting on sophomore all-arounder Christy Wells to score big points for the Titans.

“We are young and enthusiastic,” Thompson said. “We have nothing-to-lose-so-go-for-it attitude.”

Thompson is a teacher at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma. Beamer opened its South Puget Sound League schedule Wednesday in a meet at Kent-Meridian and travels to Puyallup tonight to take on Kentwood, Beamer and Puyallup.

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