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Mercer Island gymnastics looks to take huge steps early
Despite the fact that the Mercer Island gymnastics team was without one of its most talented athletes on Thursday, the Islanders managed to score 133.9 points against some of the best competition in the state.
Leading the way was freshman Kristin Trumble, who scored a team-best 31.7 points to take seventh overall. Trumble, who is still getting used to the high school meet environment, has been a club gymnast for most of her life.
“The amount of support from your teammates is the biggest difference,” said Trumble. “There is less emphasis on individual performance and more as a team.”
One of the team’s best gymnasts, sophomore Vanessa Gaffney, was missing from the meet due to a minor injury. Gaffney proved to be a force last season as a freshman, as Trumble is doing this year. Coach Lenny Lewis is hopeful that Gaffney will rejoin the team soon to add some big-time power to the lineup.
“We are going slow and are hoping to be at full strength after [winter] break,” said Lewis. “It is a different type of year, but we have a lot of promise.”
The change in roster has meant changes for Lewis. His team is young and eager to learn. The past five years have seen the team loaded with experience and chances to compete for district and state titles. Lewis is confident that his team will get back to that level sooner than later with the talent he sees.
The talent doesn’t just stop with Gaffney and Trumble. Islander junior Rachel Pedreira has been making big strides, including an 8.0 on vault to finish seventh overall. Lewis is optimistic that Pedreira will be competing in All-Around by the KingCo meet. Other gymnasts such as senior Erica Reutimann and Kendra Johnson, both sidelined by injuries, could give Mercer Island five gymnasts competing in All-Around. The Islanders did not have that during the past five years.
“We have a lot of young talent, but we have a ways to go,” said Lewis.
On Thursday, Trumble tied for third on bars with a score of 7.8. Against Ballard, during the first meet of the season, she scored an 8.0.
K.C. Taylor finished 10th, Thursday, on beam with a score of 7.2. Trumble finished in a two-way tie for seventh with a score of 8.0. She earned her highest score of the young season, an 8.9 on beam, at Ballard.
“I would say it is my strongest event,” said Trumble. “Our goal is to win districts and our injuries can heal so it is achievable.”
The competition during the meet against 4A schools was tough. No better example of that was the fact that no Islanders finished in the top 10 on floor. But Mercer Island was strong on vault, placing three girls in the top 10. Trumble finished fifth with a score of 8.3, sticking the landing and earning loud cheers from her team. Pedreira finished in a four-way tie for seventh at 8.0, while teammate Melissa Seda finished in a three-way tie for eighth place with a 7.8.
Mercer Island’s overall team score of 133.9 was nearly seven points off its high at Ballard. But the team should consistently score over 140 points with the return of Gaffney and the emergence of another young gymnast who recently joined the team. Islander freshman Sarah Drucker surprised Lewis with her abilities at her first practice and will soon get a chance to compete and show what she can do for the team.
“We have the potential to come together and be pretty good this year if everyone works hard,” said Lewis.