The Woodinville High School gymnastics team “peaked at the right time” to secure the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association state title, according to head coach Kathie Koch.
With a high score of 178.075, Woodinville earned first place on the 4A podium at the state meet at Sammamish High School on Saturday, February 26.
The Lady Falcons ended Camas High School’s three-game winning streak, which took second place with a score of 171.975.
Sumner High School (165.55) finished third and Mount Si High School (165.4) finished fourth, according to WIAA results.
“We came in really confident,” Koch said. “It was a very close encounter between us and the second-place team.”
The Woodinville team included seniors Kellee McElrath and Emma Mann; juniors Katie Barker, Ava Clark and Gigi Calozza; sophomores Emily Brouwers, Sophie Brittingham and Lauren Kok; and freshman Ainsley Mann.
To help secure the state title, Barker placed second in the all-around and first in the floor event. Barker, the team’s co-captain, consistently ranked high throughout the regular season and post-season, Koch noted.
On his first trip to the state, WHS rookie Ainsley Mann placed sixth in the all-around.
” It was the first time [Ainsley Mann] had been to a high school state reunion. She had to keep her cool,” Koch said. “Finishing sixth in first year was a big accomplishment for her.”
On beam, Brouwers took fourth and McElrath seventh. Brouwers also landed in second place on bars, followed by Barker in fourth place. Barker also placed sixth on vault.
Heading into the final floor event, Woodinville led by just two points. The Lady Falcons saved the best for last, Koch said.
Four of the top eight spots went to Woodinville, she said, including Barker (9.625), Calozza (9.6), Emma Mann (9.35) and Ainsley Mann (9.3). Koch said the high individual scores helped WHS win the competition. This secured Lady Falcon’s first title since 2017, she added.
“It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that these girls would win,” she said. “They had to go in and take one event at a time.”
Woodinville’s gymnastics program has a history of success. Since 2007, the Lady Falcons have finished the season with first or second place in the state. WHS won the championship from 2007-2010 and 2014-2017, Koch said.
“We have a strong team dynamic where the girls really come together,” she said. “If someone falls, it’s someone else’s job to step in and do their best. It takes all the kids to buy into it to really come together as a group.