When one thinks about it, Elizabeth's Emily Reynolds was only a blink of an eye away from being a state champion.
Reynolds placed second in the Nov. 1 Class 4A, all-around state gymnastics championships in competition at Thornton High School with a score of 36.925. And that second was also good enough to help lead Elizabeth to a second-place team finish behind Thompson Valley.
Reynolds was edged by Thompson Valley's Alyssa Carroll who tallied 37.475. She finished second on floor in the all-around (9.25), was third on the balance beam (9.525), fourth on the uneven bars (9.1) and fifth on vault (9.05).
Elizabeth scored 178.25 behind the Eagles' winning 179.275. Evergreen placed third in the team competition with a 176.00.
Despite the team loss for Elizabeth, which was the defending state champion, the Cardinals, coached by Stacey Folmer, were able to place three others in the top 10-all-around clash. The Cardinals had also won state team titles in 2009 and 2010.
Haley Brekiss placed fifth in the all-around (36.225), Jessie Gerczynski was seventh (35.75) and Alissa Poland, eighth (35.075). The foursome were the only Cardinals in the all-around competition.
“Today was our best score we've had and I'm so proud of everyone,” Reynolds said following the team competition. “We came in confident. We were not upset, but another championship would have been sweet. I just wanted to stay confident and not be intimidated. We all wanted to go out and do what we could do.”
Reynolds then went on to place third on both the balance beam and vault in the Nov. 2 individual competition. She scored 9.5 on the beam and 9.25 on vault for her bronze medals. She came through with a fourth on floor (9.4), but had to settle for a disappointing 12th on the bars.
“(Saturday) was all about individual challenges and it ended a fun and eventful season,” Reynolds said. “We leave the season on a high note and, overall, certainly something our team can build on for the future.”
Thompson Valley, in winning its second team title, won the beam (45.7), floor (45.35) and vault (45.20). Elizabeth was second on floor (45.05) and vault (45.175) and third on both the beam (44.45) and bars (43.575).
“We made some weird mistakes on the beam,” Folmer said. “But I'm certainly proud of how the girls finished. They wanted to walk away proud and did it for the team. I think everyone walked away with a feeling that we could compete well here and we did the best we could. The girls are feeling good and glad that they were able to feed off one another.
“The team means a lot more than just individual feelings. The girls were coming out more for the team rather than individual efforts. Our underclassmen will be ready to go back to work for next season. “
Breikss had her best event with a second place in the all-around competition on vault. Here, she also placed second to Carroll with her score of 9.25 to Carroll's 9.6. She also finished fourth in the beam qualifying (.9.35), sixth on bars (8.9) and 14th on floor (8.725). However, she had to settle for a fourth on the bars in the individual competition (8.925), but failed to medal in the remaining three events.
“I'm a senior and I wanted to finish as a leader,” said Breikss. “The key was to have our team together and I think we were. Vault is my best event and I'm pleased with out I came out today. I'm really sad to be done. When I fell (on bars) all I could do was get back. There are no regrets and I didn't want the mistakes to bother me. You have to stay positive the whole day. I'm certainly happy to be here.”
Gerczynski (35.75) and Poland (35.075) just missed out on earning medals in the all-around as they placed seventh and eighth, respectively. However, Gerczynski went on to finish fifth on bars (8.8) and the beam (9.125). Poland would eventually place fifth floor (9.375) and vault (9.1).
“I'm so happy four our team,” said Gerczynski, who was seventh in the all-around competition on floor and vault and eighth on beam and bars. “It was our best team effort of the year. My key was to be calm and positive. I'm a junior so I'll be working hard next season for a higher finish.
“I did really good today and I'm proud I got high scores,” said Gerczynski, who also finished seventh on floor (9.125) and eighth on vault (9.0). “It was super important to be patient and confident.
Poland's top finish in the all-around was a third on vault (9.1) and fourth on floor (9.225).
“I'm so proud of all of us and we did what we had to do,” said Poland, who also placed eighth on bars (8.6). “No matter what happened we just wanted to go out and do our best. It's the last meet for me as I'm not going to do gymnastics in college. I was just so grateful to be here.”
Elizabeth's Dillon Lind and Sierra Schwegel also reached the finals on the bars and eventually finished 10th and 15th, respectively. Lind scored 8.5, Schwegel, 7.45. Schwegel also placed seventh on Vault (9.025) and was also joined in the finals by teammate Payton Poalillo, 11th (8.875). The Cardinals Megan Reynolds was 11th on floor (8.825).
Thompson Valley's Carroll won the vault in the all-around with a glittering 9.6. She also pulled out a second in the all-around on the bars (9.225) and beam (9.6) and was sixth on floor (9.05). She would go on to win the individual gold medal on floor (9.7), silvers on vault (9.6) and beam (9.6) and bronze on the bars (9.15).