Mount Si Gymnastics off to a roaring start

The Mount Si gymnastics team is off to a very solid start, and their performances in their first two meets suggest the Wildcats may be on the verge of their best season ever in the 10-year history of the program.

Mount Si opened with a 2-0 record, averaging a team score of 154.2, including what is believed to be a school record of 157.65 in their meet Thursday, Dec. 11 at Sammamish. They have seen their top gymnasts step up to the plate, as Brittany Cragin, Georgia Reynolds and Rachel Karavias have all had excellent meets to start the season.

Sophomore Kennedy Richmond, who was mentioned as a newcomer to watch in the Valley Record’s team preview article a few weeks ago, has emerged in a big way as another top threat, making this team even stronger.

“It’s nice going in knowing that I have solid gymnasts,” coach Jessica Easthope said.

“Kennedy comes from a club training experience, so when you see her, she’s dynamic and she’s powerful,” Easthope said. “She’s got the grace to go along with that, and showmanship, which helps us out. For judges who have never seen her, I think they’re really impressed by what she brings to the table.”

Richmond is excited about her start to the season.

“So far it’s been really fun,” she said. “I like the team a lot. I think we have a lot of really strong competitors, so Mount Si should do pretty good this season.”

A factor that clearly plays into this start is the emphasis on increased starting values for routines.

“We’ve had to modify and change some of the kids’ routines, because the start values weren’t as high or their routines weren’t as dynamic,” Easthope said. “So we’ve tried to make little tweaks here and there, and the girls have been really key players to that, adjusting well.”

Richmond is new to high school gymnastics after spending time at the club level bouncing around several local clubs. She feels some pressure, but knows how to deal with it.

“There’s a little bit of pressure being new and all, but it’s all just kind of how you handle pressure,” Richmond said. “I like to not think about it, just kind of go out there and do what I think I can do. If I mess up, I can go back the next day and make it better, so it’s really not too intimidating, as long as you’re focused on what you need to do.”

Richmond’s transition from club to high school level has been smooth, and she credits her older teammates with helping.

“I’ve known some of them since we were younger in middle school, so it was a pretty easy transition,” she said. “They showed me how this team runs.”

Mount Si will return to action following the holiday break, with home meets at the high school scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 8 and Thursday, Jan. 22, along with a home meet to be made up at a date to be announced against Liberty. That meet, which was scheduled for Dec. 18, was postponed due to the snowstorms affecting the Valley.

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