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Cardinals capture state gymnastics title

Elizabeth wins team championship, Buzalsky takes top spot in multiple categories

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Elizabeth brought home a number of gymnastics honors as the Cardinals won the Class 4A state team title and Anastasia Buzalsky won the state all-around championship, plus she won state individual event championships in floor exercise, balance beam and uneven parallel bars.

The victories began Nov. 2 at the Class 4A state gymnastics meet at Thornton High School. The state team champion and all-around champion were crowned at the meet, plus the meet was the competition determining which gymnasts advanced to the Nov. 4 state individual event championships.

Elizabeth won the team title with a score of 179.150, finishing ahead of Niwot with a score of 176.750.

“Winning the team championship was such an exciting event,” Cardinals coach Stacey Folmar said. “I am so proud of our girls. It was almost surreal watching our young team be able to bring together so much maturity, grit and determination in the second half of the meet, because the first half of the meet wasn't our best performance and there were some uncharacteristic mistakes on bars and floor.”

She said during the break between first two events and the second two events she and the girls talked about the team's season focus on what it means to dig deep.

“The girls responded in the second half,” she said. “We hit vault which has been our weakest event all season and the girls were perfect. Then we went to the balance beam and Rachel Jorgensen, Aliyah Antunez, Austin Coleman and Emily Schaefer finished first, second, third and fourth respectively in the event.”

The state all-around champion was crowned at the Nov. 2 meet. Elizabeth's Anastasia Buzalsky took first place in vault and floor exercise as she won the championship with a score of 37.125. Lindsey Chohon of Niwot finished second.

The top 15 finishers in each individual event, floor exercise, vault, balance beam and uneven parallel bars, advanced to the Nov. 4 individual event state championship meet. At the Nov.4 meet, Buzalsky, a junior, took the top spot on the Class 4A awards podium as she won the individual event championships in floor exercise, balance beam and uneven parallel bars.

“Winning the state all-around championship and our team winning the state team title is the best feeling ever,” she said. “Winning all-around was exciting and shocking. I think my team being there to support me helped me have confidence in my routines.”

The junior said gymnastics is her sport. She said gymnastics is exciting and she loves it because the sport requires strength, confidence and passion and she has all of those.

Folmar owns and coaches at Chalkbox Gymnastics Gym and coached Buzalsky when she was young and was training at Folmar's gym for about four years.

“She left us to try the United States Gymnastics Association program for a couple years,” Folmar said. “She came back to Chalkbox last spring to compete with us in Colorado Association of Recreation Athletics gymnastics. CARA is basically a feeder program for high school gymnastics. Anastasia competed with our gym's CARA team and then joined our team at Elizabeth. I believe she joined us at the high school because she wanted to be part of a team. When she was at her club she was the member of the club at meets because she was the only gymnast at that club on her level. She is spunky, enthusiastic and great addition to our team.”

The 2016 championship is Elizabeth's fourth state gymnastics team title. The Cardinals won state team championships in 2009, 2010 and 2012.

“We expect to be strong again next year,” said Folmar, who has coached the team for 12 years. “We are a young team and there isn't a senior on our roster. So I feel there is a bright future for gymnastics at Elizabeth.”

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