LAKEWOOD — Gymnastics in the Jeffco League is like a stacked deck, loaded with highly skilled, competitive gymnasts, which makes for a great show at state. But at league competition it makes for a downright spectacle.
The Jeffco League gymnastics championships was held at Bear Creek High School on Oct. 20. The conference finals are just a primer for regionals, which will be held Oct. 26. Teams have to qualify their gymnasts at regionals if they want a shot at state, but there are so many variables that make getting to state nerve-wracking.
A gymnast could have the routine of their life, but judging can still be brutal because it is subjective. Any given judge can deem a marvelous performance flawed because the gymnast didn’t smile or because their foot wiggled on the landing, deducting fractions of a point that can be the difference between placing and advancing to state or hoping that next year will be better.
The judges at league were tough. Gymnasts and coaches alike were left feeling accosted when the numbers went up.
Columbine sophomore Ashley Gerken scored a 7.15 for her floor routine even though she had a perfectly executed illusion — a move where a gymnast looks to be attempting a cartwheel, but their foot remains planted on the floor while their body rotates on the axis of their foot. It is a very difficult move. She stuck all of her landings, had beautiful layouts and had high jumps.
“She didn’t have some of the higher level stunts in her routine,” Columbine head coach Rhonda Hardcastle said. “But I think her score was a little low.”
Columbine’s highest score came from Breezy Coyne with a 8.575 on floor.
Chatfield had an amazing showing on floor and vault from all of its girls, especially senior Nicole Hagen, who scored nines in all of her events. Being the highest scoring gymnast of her team allowed Hagen to take fourth place in the all-around with a score of 36.6. That helped her team place third with a score of 177.75. Standley Lake won with 179.6 points, followed by 4A Elizabeth, which scored 178.9. Columbine was 10th with a 143.825 score.
“I am really happy with myself,” Hagen said. “But now the pressure is on because I know my team is looking to me to keep it up. I really want to do well at regionals so I can represent my team at state.”
The 5A regionals will be held Oct. 26 at Cherry Creek High School.
Both Chatfield and Evergreen won league sportsmanship awards.
Evergreen freshman Callie Cohen got the Lady Cougars’ only nine when she scored a 9.30 on beam. The Lady Cougars placed sixth with 167.75 points.
“Callie is really starting to see how the judges rate things, and she is making a lot of improvements. I think she will do well at state,” Evergreen head coach Marnie Bello said.