Sports

Mercer Island gymnasts prepare for KingCo

Mercer Island gymnast Emily Lightfoot performs her beam routine during the Islanders’ last meet of the regular season last Tuesday at Sammamish High School. The postseason begins this Saturday. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island gymnast Emily Lightfoot performs her beam routine during the Islanders’ last meet of the regular season last Tuesday at Sammamish High School. The postseason begins this Saturday.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

As the regular season wound down last week, the Mercer Island girls gymnastics team looked back and saw some of the highest scores it has posted in several years. The team also knows it is in a strong position heading into the postseason to battle for the top spot in the league.

“It’s been a good season,” said head coach Lenny Lewis. “We haven’t had anyone hurt, which has been a problem here before with our best girls getting hurt before the postseason, which makes it difficult to qualify.”

No such problem faces the Islanders this year as they prepare for the KingCo meet, this Saturday, at Lake Washington High School.

Lewis said if the team has a solid performance, and girls hit all their marks, they should be able to contend for the KingCo title.

“If everybody hits, we should challenge for KingCo,” he said. But to make that happen, it will take top performances to beat the rest of the league, which includes continuously strong teams like Liberty, Mount Si and Bellevue.

Even if things don’t go perfectly, Lewis said he expects the Islanders to place well and qualify for districts.

“Our best event has been the floor,” he said. “We’ve improved and been consistent. They are looking really good; we just need to hit our marks and not step out of bounds.”

Lewis said the only area where inconsistency has plagued the team has been bars. He said they have great routines, and look great in practice, but haven’t been able to transition that into meets. Whether it’s nerves or simply over-thinking things, bars has been tricky for the Islanders this season.

One big plus for the team, Lewis said, is having six all-around athletes, which will automatically help boost the team’s score at any meet.

“That makes it really nice, to have that many girls in the all-around,” said the coach. It does mean for some members of the team, despite being strong in one event, that they might end up as alternates, simply because the team is so deep. However, it’s generally a problem coaches don’t mind having.

This weekend’s KingCo meet will begin with the team march-in at 5:45 p.m. Competition begins at 6 p.m. at Lake Washington High School.

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