The Camas gymnastics teams like to think of themselves as one big family.
And at the center of this unit are two team members who are part of a real family.
Senior Peyton Cody and her younger sister, second Kennedy Cody, believe their closeness permeates the papermakers and helps fuel the team’s success.
“Everyone on the team, we’re all really close,” Peyton Cody said. “And I think it’s fun that Kennedy and I are sisters, because we get along, and then we pass that feeling on to other girls on the team.”
Peyton Cody has been competing in gymnastics for 11 years and Kennedy for eight. But their bond goes beyond a love for gymnastics.
“Socially, me and Peyton are very close,” Kennedy Cody said. “We’ve been best friends forever. She has friends different from mine and I am very close to the others. So I think we help bring the whole team together.
The Cody sisters are also hoping to bridge a gap created by the pandemic that will help the Papermakers win a fourth straight 4A tag team title at Saturday’s state meet at Sammamish High School in Bellevue.
Peyton Cody was a key contributor to Camas’ victories in 2019 and 2020, placing eighth in all-around as a freshman and ninth as a sophomore.
“It’s really exciting to be able to help the team because there are a lot of kids who are in second year who couldn’t go last year but were still in the team or who are freshmen now,” Peyton said. “They are all going there for the first time. It’s really exciting to prepare them, like Kennedy, to prepare for the state and to help them know what’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen.
Kennedy was one of those freshmen last year who didn’t get a chance to go to the state reunion because it was canceled by COVID protocols.
“I’m really excited,” Kennedy said. “I feel like our team is becoming more of a family. We’ve become really close. And I think winning a state title will really help create that bond.
Camas is coming off a team win over Sumner in the Puyallup bi-district encounter last week.
The State 4A meet will have a new look. In previous years, the team champion and the all-around champion were crowned on the first day of competition, which also served as the qualifier for the individual apparatus finals held the following day.
This year, those individual titles will be determined in the competition for team scores. And that suits Peyton Cody perfectly. She placed fifth on bars in her first year.
“I’m actually glad we don’t have to come back the next day for the (individual) finals,” Peyton said. “I reached the final the two years I did, and it feels like an extra thing that is not necessary. Because we are all there for the team and not really for ourselves. So I’m pretty happy that we’re doing things the way we’ve been doing this year, we’re just giving our best for the team, and that’s it.
Peyton Cody and other returning State participants from Team Camas told their young teammates what to expect at State and how to deal with pressure.
And young athletes, like Kennedy Cody, hope to take that advice and build on it, as the papermakers look to continue their dynasty.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Kennedy said. “I’m just going to try to have fun and do my best. And I just hope everyone feels that too. I think there is a lot of pressure, but I think we can manage.