Federal Way gymnastics teams get ready to vault into winter season

Preview of this season’s athletes, teams.

Coming up on the horizon for winter sports in Federal Way is gymnastics.

All four Federal Way High Schools combined for nine gymnasts at the state tournament at Sammamish High School. Thomas Jefferson had the highest finisher at the tournament.

Thomas Jefferson also had a very strong showing last February. Kaitlin Avila finished inside the top 40 in her two events. She finished tied for 38th on the floor and tied for 34th on the beam. Keyanna Sarratt was 54th on bars for the Raiders. Alia Near led the way for TJ finishing inside the top 10 for all her events except one, where she finished 11th. Near finished tied for eighth on the floor and vault, and was ninth on beam. Near finished 11th on the bars, en route to being seventh overall in the all-around competition.

Todd Beamer only had one gymnast who qualified for state. Alysa Lorennij represented her school extremely well, qualifying for three events. Lorennij participated in the floor, finishing tied for 38th, on the vault at 22nd, and on the beam tied for 18th.

Federal Way High School had two athletes compete, and both competed in a single event. Sofia Adekoya finished inside the top 40 on the beam, finishing tied for 37th. Jazlyn Jones was the other Eagle competing at Sammamish, finishing 43rd on the bars.

The Decatur Gators had three gymnasts represent them at the year-end tournament. All of them competed in the beam, and Marissa Nagode was the only one to qualify for multiple events. Nagode finished tied for 29th on the beam and 29th on bars, and tied for 14th on floor. Ciana Nolasco finished ninth on beam. Jayla Steckler finished 34th on beam.

Decatur’s first home meet is on Dec. 14 when they host Todd Beamer and Auburn High School. Federal Way has their first two meets on the road on Jan. 4 when Auburn Mountainview, Decatur and Todd Beamer come to the Federal Way High School gym. Thomas Jefferson opens their season at home on Dec. 7 against Federal Way, Auburn and Decatur. Todd Beamer doesn’t have a home gymnastics meet until Jan. 18 when TJ, Decatur and Kennedy Catholic come visit.

About gymnastics

Gymnastics consists of four different events and one classification where athletes can compete in all four categories.

For the first category, we’ll start with the floor, in which an athlete will choose a routine paired with music. The routine is accomplished by doing a set of leaps, flips, twists and turns. The athlete is then judged based on their execution and form as well as staying in bounds through the duration of their routine.

The next category is the vault. The vault is set up with a runway that leads to a spring board to what is referred to as a vaulting table. The athlete runs down the runway, then leaps off the springboard. They then use the vault to help twist and turn off the table. The judges score the event based on the height and distance as well as the athlete’s stability when landing on the mat.

Following the vault, we move to the balance beam. The beam is four feet in the air. Gymnasts focus on keeping their balance while doing turns, flips and jumps. The judge scores the athlete by how stable they are on the beam, and the difficulty of the actions they do on the beam.

The uneven parallel bars are the last event for gymnasts. The lower set of bars is set at 5.4 feet and the higher bar is 7.8 feet in the air. While on the bars, gymnasts jump between bars and do flips and twists. They receive points based on the quality of skill and level of complexity. They are also scored on their dismount and keeping a straight line throughout their routine.

The final event is the all around. To be an all around athlete means that gymnasts will compete in every single event.