Chatfield, Columbine give it their all at state gymnastics

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By Alissa Noe

THORNTON — For years now, Chatfield gymnastics has been somewhat of a powerhouse in the South Jeffco area.
Since head coach Chanel Chavez’s arrival to the school in 2010, the Chargers have sent their full team to the state competition six times. This year was no different.
In the team all-around on Thursday at Thornton High School, the Chargers finished seventh in the 5A state competition, bolstered by performances from freshman Kennedy Duff and senior Chloe Brekhus. Both returned to the main stage on Saturday afternoon for the finals competition.
In the floor routine, Duff finished ninth overall with a score of 9.325. Brekhus, coming in as an alternate, took 13th in the vault with a 9.325 as well.
On Thursday, the Chargers rallied in the second half to work up their team score after initially faltering in the first half of the competition. From there, they could only go up.
“To be honest, at the beginning, I was a little nervous and wasn’t really pleased with their performance,” Chavez said. “But for some reason, we always pick it up in the second half, and in our second half, we rocked it. I’m extremely happy with how today went with them. I actually think we got our highest score of the season, so I’m very, very excited.”
For seniors Sarah Collins and Lauren Ratcliff, it was all about putting up one last, great performance for their soon-to-be alma mater.
“I think we started out a little bit shaky, but after we settled into the meet and realized it was our last meet as a team, we really just had fun and came back,” Ratcliff said.
Collins kissed the judges goodbye on her way out of her high school career.
“I added a little kissy move in my (floor) routine to spice it up a little bit to have some fun this year as a senior,” she said. “It was all about fun this last meet.”
Now that the season is over, the Chargers will bid farewell to a handful of seniors, but Chavez is confident her underclassmen have the talent and poise to keep the program trending in the right direction for years to come.

While Chatfield has been teaming-up for state a lot over the past few years, Columbine hasn’t been far behind.
This year, the Rebels sent their most girls to state (six) in the past four years, since coach Barbara Quinn took over the program. The team was just 0.675 points short of sending the full team.
“This has been our best year by far,” Quinn said. “We improved our team’s score 19 points since the beginning of the season, which is huge.”
Senior Nicole Killeen, a regular at state, led her team with a 15th-place finish in the floor competition on Thursday. Although she served as an alternate for Saturday’s finals, she was never called up to perform.
In floor, she finished with a score of 9.275 in keeping the same routine she performed at state last year.
“I try to do stuff that really goes to the music and that lets me show it off,” Killeen said. “One of my old coaches used to say that when you’re happy, the judges are happy, and that means you get happy scores. I always try to think about that when I choreograph.”