Gymnasts defeat Saints

By Matt Phelps

The seniors on the Mercer Island gymnastics team said their good-byes this week to the gymnasium they have called home for the past four years. The final home meet of the season came early for the squad, but a win over Interlake 166.75-112.65 sent those seniors out in style Thursday.

``It's really sad,'' said Mercer Island senior Ashley Wedlake. ``This is an awesome group of girls. This team is a great way to end my gymnastics career. I always look forward to practices.''

The meet was not just the last in the Islander gym for Wedlake, but a chance for her to get back on track.

``My scores aren't where I want them to be,'' said Wedlake.

Islander junior Kelsey Ingram continue to lead the team for the meet, as she scored a 36.55. Wedlake came in second with a 34.45.

``I have been working a lot on new things and I need to focus on my routines and then put in the big tricks,'' said Wedlake.

A miscue for Wedlake during a pass on the floor exercise cost the senior a bigger score as she posted an 8.5.

``That is the first time I have ever seen her miss on a front tuck out of a front handspring,'' said Lewis. ``She is really inconsistent this season. She hits it all in practice but she hasn't put it all together yet in a meet.''

Olivia Harvey, 33.75, Lauren Govier, 29.95 and Mimi Maritz, 23.3, rounded out the all-around scores for Mercer Island.

Harvey's score was her second best of the season and she placed second on the team on floor with an 8.7. Ingram led the Islanders on floor with a 9.25.

Ingram posted the best score of the night on beam with a near flawless routine, which yielded a 9.5. Wedlake posted a 9.0, tying her best of the season.

Harvey, just a freshman, posted an 8.45.

``She is really quiet,'' said Lewis. ``Everyone likes her and her work ethic really inspires the other girls. When everyone else is done in practice she is usually the last one still working.''

The time in the gym has paid off for Harvey who has consistently improved this season. On bars, Harvey posted an 8.4, good enough for second during the meet. Ingram posted the highest for the meet on bars with an 8.85. Wedlake tied her best of the year during the event with an 8.0.

The Islanders scored low as a team on vault, despite some improvement from girls not in the top five. Ingram and Wedlake tied for first with 8.95 and Harvey took third with an 8.2. Mimi Maritz scored an 8.1 while Taryn Matthews scored an 8.0 along with Lauren Govier. Senior Beth Richmond posted her best score of the year with a 7.65 and Christie Plackis earned a 7.55.

``Christie is the enforcer of this team,'' said Lewis. ``She is a great leader and she always has great ideas. She is the one to yell when the other girls aren't working.''

One gymnast who has not been working is Galit Almosnino. The junior fractured her collar bone and could miss up to a week more. The gymnast sustained the injury on vault after a long day of practicing.

``I was really hoping to compete on vault night because I don't want to scare myself out of it,'' said Almosnino.

``She will definitely be back for KingCo,'' said Lewis. ``I thought we had lost her for the season. We have been having a lot of injuries lately and a lot of shin splints we have to watch.''

The Islanders still trail Issaquah by just one match. The Eagles defeated Mercer Island during the first meet of the season. Issaquah has post a season-best 173 points recently and the Islanders have not approached their season best of 168.65 since the winter break. The Islanders will get another shot at a score in the 170s at 7 p.m., Thursday at Liberty.

``I just told them to have a lot of fun tonight and not worry about their scores,'' said Mercer Island head gymnastics coach Lenny Lewis. ``But of course they do worry about their scores.''

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