Medals free Lathrop of expectations

Contributing writerFebruary 23, 2014 

Heading into Saturday’s individual competition at the Class 3A/2A/1A state gymnastics meet, Keira Lathrop felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

By the end of the afternoon, she had new ballast around her neck in the form of medals.

Lathrop, a junior at Capital High School, placed sixth on the uneven bars (9.125) and seventh on the vault (9.55) to take the podium twice at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.

“It felt great,” she said. “I was definitely aiming to place as much as I could, and it worked out really well.”

Lathrop said that Friday’s all-around competition provided a lot more pressure because “there’s more to go.”

“But (Saturday) is the fun day,” she said. “There’s no more – I can’t qualify for anything else, so it’s like come out and have fun.”

Lathrop was especially happy with her performance on the bars, which she says has traditionally been her weakest event.

On the vault, she fell on her first attempt but didn’t realize how well she did on the ensuing effort until the end.

“It’s so fast that I don’t really think about it,” she said. “I just do it, and whatever score I get, I get.”

Also competing for Thurston County was Timberline’s Kourtney Belarde, who finished 13th on the beam (8.275).

Kamiakin junior Alexis Lawrence won the vault with a score of 9.725 a day after capturing the 3A/2A/1A all-around title. Despite competing at the highest level of club gymnastics, Lawrence said she never anticipated having such a successful first season with the Braves of Kennewick.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” she said. “I just wanted to have fun in a high school sport for the first time.”

Southridge junior Kiya Bjorge was the day’s only double winner, coming in first in the floor exercise (9.625) and uneven bars (9.575) , and Sammamish junior Nykaela Dodson won a second consecutive beam title (9.425).

A pair of seniors won 4A championships: Newport’s Candace Ho successfully defended her title on the beam (9.45), while Eastlake’s Jenna Hayes soared to a 9.725 on the vault. Woodinville sophomore Marisa Savage, who won the 4A all-around title, took the bars with 9.55 points.

And Mead junior Jenna Schlosser, runner-up in Friday’s 4A all-around competition, said that she came into her first state meet with personal goal of winning the floor exercise. She did just that, scoring a 9.5 with a soaring, up-tempo routine.

“I’m a really powerful person,” she said. “It was fun to go out there and be as clean as possible (and) look at the judges and make them have a good time, as well.”

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