'Cat gymnasts deliver in key league battle

Mount Si sophomore Elizabeth Holmes performs her beam routine Thursday evening, Dec. 16, at home, scoring second with an 8.1. The Wildcats handled Mercer Island in all events. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Mount Si sophomore Elizabeth Holmes performs her beam routine Thursday evening, Dec. 16, at home, scoring second with an 8.1. The Wildcats handled Mercer Island in all events.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Mount Si’s gymnastics team took a key step towards mounting a successful league title defense last Thursday, December 16, as they overcame struggles throughout the meet to post a victory over a Mercer Island team which has emerged as the Wildcats’ chief competition early in this gymnastics season.

Mount Si posted a 149.25 – 137.7 decision over the Islanders. Despite the victory, Wildcat coach Jessica Easthope indicated there’s room for improvement. "We have a lot to work to do,” Easthope said.

Mount Si won team crowns in all four individual events (vault, bars, beam and floor). Wildcat senior Kennedy Richmond easily took the all-around crown with a score of 32.35, easily beating MI’s Kari Johnson, who finished second. Mount Si sophomore – and Kennedy’s sister – Hannah Richmond took third.

Kennedy Richmond’s all-around success was keyed by two individual event victories; those were in the beam and floor events. Richmond scored a 8.4 on beam, while she recorded a 9.1 on the floor.

Sophomore Elizabeth Holmes had a solid night, helping Mount Si; she took second in both of these events, scoring 8.1 on the beam and 8.4 on the floor. Richmond and Holmes helped the Wildcats to a top-five sweep on the floor, with Hannah Richmond taking third (8.1), sophomore Jessica Trotto and freshman Carissa Castagno tying for fourth (8.0 each), and junior Brooke Bonner finishing fifth (7.7) after running into difficulty in her beam routine just moments earlier. Bonner, who played volleyball for the Wildcats this fall, is out for gymnastics for the first time this season, and her transition has also been fairly smooth. "The first couple of weeks were challenging, but I got back in it and it was really fun and everyone was really nice,” Bonner said.

Castagno was Mount Si’s top finisher on vault, scoring an 8.3 to take second, just a shade off the top score of 8.35 recorded by MI’s Vanessa Gaffney. Castagno has emerged as one of the top newcomers to the program, and the freshman’s transition to the program has had its bumps in the road, but overall it’s been easy. "It's been kind of challenging, but it’s been really good. I love the girls,” Castagno said. Kennedy and Hannah Richmond led Mount Si on the bars, with Kennedy scoring a 6.8 to take second and Hannah getting a 6.5 to finish tied for third. Johnson won the event for the Islanders with a 7.4.

The Wildcats’ scores in events were a bit lower than in the previous week’s meet, a victory over Bellevue and Sammamish, and that was largely due to the toughness of the judging, a good thing since the two judges who were on hand to score the routines are judges Mount Si likely will see in the postseason. “These are two top judges that we see at Kingco and districts and how they judge and how they score is a true reflection of how our girls are doing,” Easthope said.

Mount Si now goes into the winter break and will have another home meet in January.

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