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Mount Si reaches milestone with creation of women's gymnastics

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With the Wildcats' move to KingCo 3A came the opportunity

to add new athletic programs to those currently offered by the high

school. Only two schools in KingCo 3A lacked gymnastics programs -

Mount Si and Cedarcrest - but with the creation of this year's program at

Mount Si, one more school will step into the fray of competition.

Leading the creation and implementation of the program is

head coach Renee Tredo. Tredo is in her second year of teaching at the

Upper Valley high school and is an avid gymnastics enthusiast. Prior to her

arrival last year to teach physical education, she had coached one year at the

high- school level, competed personally at the high-school level and coached

four additional years at the junior-high level. In addition to her new duties

as gymnastics coach, she has been the Mount Si Volleyball coach for

two years.

Assisting her with the gymnastics program is Sherri Brown, who

also happens to be the volleyball assistant coach.

For their part, the district provided approximately $28,000 in funds

for the purchase of new equipment, none of which has existed in the

district before. Some of the monies will be recouped through Title 9 funds

and various fund-raisers put on by the gymnastics team.

High-school gymnastics consists of four events: floor, beam, bars

and vaults. Fourteen competitors stepped forward in the first year of the

program with three standouts having prior experience.

Heading the list is junior Yolanda Morton, who will be competing in

the vault and beam. Nikki Belt, also a junior, will add some experience to

the team as well, competing in the floor and beam; and teammate

Lyndsay Ray, another junior, will compete in the bars and floor.

Gymnastics events will be new to many Valley residents, but the

format is the same throughout the league. Each team starts on one specific

event; for example, Mount Si will start on floor with all of its athletes. Then

the whole meet rotates to a new event at the same time. There will always

be three schools at Mount Si's meets so there will be one team on the floor

to start, one team on the bar and one team on vault.

The competitors will be judged by an official at each event with a

score shown for each girl. Then teams rotate to the next event.

After all teams compete in all four events, the judges add up the top

four scorers from each event and that becomes the team score. There is a

team score at every meet and there is a top six places for each event at every meet.

KingCo has its share of tough teams, as was evident last year

when Issaquah placed second in the state. Mercer Island and Newport are

also extremely tough schools.

"They always have been in gymnastics," says coach Tredo. "It's

only my second year in KingCo, and I've only seen the teams at the state

competition so I know they are strong."

For comparisons in turnout, Issaquah had 17 and Mercer

Island had 61, according to Tredo. Every year gymnastic numbers can be

different because there is always a group of kids that loves gymnastics and are the

same age.

"Once they come into the school, they stick together," says Tredo.

"For us it's a new program and what I'm excited about is now that

it's here, students may come here that wouldn't have in the past

because Mount Si didn't have gymnastics. So hopefully in the next three or

four years we will have a strong program up here and we can start pulling

those kids in that may go elsewhere.

"It's really exciting to start a new program, but it's also a huge

challenge starting a program from scratch. Getting the word out to the girls

was tough," Tredo continues. "We started

a week earlier than the rest of the winter sports so there were some girls

who wanted to turn out but didn't because of the earlier start."

However, the newly created program will be lacking one aspect:

junior varsity ranks.

"Some schools do have JV programs but we didn't have enough

girls for both. My goal is to get 20 girls at the varsity level and 10 at the JV

level," says the coach. "We have a lot of

freshman which is good for the long term, but we also have the three strong

juniors."

The team will hold a fund-raiser on Dec. 11 to help pay back the

funds necessary to purchase the new equipment. Elementary-age kids will

be able to spend two hours with the team in the gym for $10 each. Two

sessions are scheduled, with the first one from 9-11 a.m. and the second from

noon to 2 p.m. Interested parents should call the high school and ask for Renee

for more information.

The team's first meet is scheduled for Thursday Dec. 2 against

Interlake and Skyline at Skyline. Start time will be 7:30 p.m.

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