Sports

Eagles' McKinnon 17th all-around in state gymnastics

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The Class 4A state gymnastics championships turned into a showcase for Rogers High School and Inglemoor’s Michelle Low Friday and Saturday inside the Tacoma Dome’s Exhibition Hall.

Rogers, last year’s 4A runner-up, used its depth to earn its first team state title, edging Woodinville, 178.1 to 176.475. Rogers finished 21-0 in the South Puget Sound League, ending Federal Way’s three-year run as champions of the league. The Eagles, who have finished third the last three seasons at state, failed to qualify for team competition.

Individually, Michelle Low of Inglemoor, who placed second in the all-around in 2003 when her school won the state title, rolled to the all-around title with 37.825 points. Low also won individual event titles on the floor exercise (9.7) and on the vault (9.425).

Low, a senior, didn’t participate in the state meet last season after a coach challenged whether she had participated in the required number of high-school practices due to her club gymnastics schedule.

Kelsey Walsh from Prairie placed second in the all-around with 37.45 points, followed by Brianna Schwartz of Sumner (37.2). Schwartz trains at Federal Way’s Gymnastics Unlimited and also won the balance beam final with a 9.6.

Federal Way High School’s Leslie McKinnon didn’t finish as high as she would have liked to in the all-around — the senior was 17th during Friday’s competition with 35.625 points. But just taking part in the state championships was quite a feat for McKinnon.

During her sophomore and junior seasons, McKinnon suffered season-ending injuries before state, including dislocating her elbow in a fall during practice last year.

McKinnon also finished up in seventh place Saturday on the uneven parallel bars final with a score of 9.075. It was the only individual event final a gymnast from the Federal Way school district qualified for. The top-10 placers from Friday’s opening round of competition advanced to Saturday’s finals.

Federal Way’s other senior, Mykel Stivers, finished up 22nd in the individual all-around with 35.300 points. Beamer freshman Kaylyn Borden ended up 26th in the all-around with 35.125 points in her first state appearance.

Other district gymnasts who competed at state were Jefferson’s Nicora Long and Jennifer McCreery, Decatur’s Chantael Duke and Federal Way’s Keelin Crews and Heather Penor.

Notes

• Stivers received the sportsmanship award at the Class 4A meet along with Auburn’s Erikka Burns.

• Bob Fenton, who coached Kentwood to state 4A titles in 2001 and 2002, was selected to the Washington State Gym Coaches Association Hall of Fame during Friday’s awards ceremony.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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