Once you're a die-hard gymnast, there's no going back.
That's certainly the case for Mount Si's crop of seniors this winter.
Hannah Richmond, Elizabeth Holmes and Jessica Trotto have been on the varsity team all four years of high school.
Coach Jessica Easthope has watched them grow up in front of her eyes.
"They were all talented, as a person, which has only improved their gymnastics," she says. "They have all just blossomed."
Easthope says the high school team is special, due to its sense of unity. Gymnasts support each other during the season, in the offseason, in and out of the gym.
Many train in the offseason at places like the Mount Si Gymnastics Academy or Gymnastics East.
"Once you get bitten, you don't get cured," the coach says.
Trotto, a captain, remains part of the team. But a back injury will likely keep her on the sidelines. Expect Trotto to support her team mentally and vocally, helping encourage younger gymnasts while having her varsity team's back.
Junior Carissa Castagno, and sophomores Jenn Rogers, Mackenzie Brown and Hailey Johnson are all expected to be important players in the Wildcats' core team. Rogers went furthest last season, the highest scorer in a complete contingent at state, where Mount Si took fifth. The team was undefeated last season, taking second at districts
Mount Si has high expectations of returning to state. Easthope hopes to see the team break into the top three.
This team is already deep.
"All of my girls can compete in all four events, which is huge," she said.
With the top five scores counting during regular season meets, and top six at districts and beyond, expect the Mount Si girls to be competing for the top spots.
"This team is the best we've had so far," said Richmond. "If we work hard at it, we can definitely get there."
Holmes says the team is working hard on beam, the area that needs the most attention.
"I've definitely seen a lot of improvement from everybody so far," she says. "That will be the secret to state."
"The main key to helping the girls is confidence," Trotto said. "That can make or break you."
"This program has grown so much in the past few years," said Richmond. It's tough that this is their last year together, because this team, for her and her fellow seniors, means so much. No one is alone on this team.
"We're all a big family," Holmes says.
As for Wildcat spirit this year, "It better be big," says Trotto.
Mount Si gymnastics schedule
Thursday, Dec. 6
• Mount Si hosts Lake Washington
Thursday, Dec. 13
• Mount Si hosts Sammamish
Thursday, Dec. 20
• Mount Si at Mercer Island
Thursday, Jan. 10
• Mount Si at Bellevue
Thursday, Jan. 17
• Mount Si hosts Bellevue
Thursday, Jan. 24
• Mount Si hosts Mercer Island. Senior night.
Saturday, Jan. 26
• JV invite at Ballard
Saturday, Feb. 2.
• Kingco Championships, site TBD
Saturday, Feb. 8
• Districts at Sammamish
Friday, Feb. 15
• State championships begin