High school athletes from North Thurston High School, Olympia High School and River Ridge High School competed February 23 and 24 at the WIAA Gymnastics State Championship at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. North Thurston sophomore Sadie McKune won the individual State Championship in the Bars competition with a 9.475 and North Thurston placed sixth as a team in the 3A competition.
Olympia High School had four athletes who qualified for individual state final events in the 4A competition. Olympia also finished sixth place as a team competing in the 4A competition. Bella Burton, a junior for North Thurston, placed 4th on the Floor individual final with a 9.45 score and McKune also placed 7th on Vault with a 9.25 and 4th on Beam with a 9.45. Serenity Davis, from River Ridge, competed on vault and scored an 8.425.
Sophomore Saide McKune felt great about her team’s accomplishment and how she competed. “It felt pretty cool to win the state championship,” remarked McKune after the awards ceremony. “I’m really glad all the hard work at the gym paid off.”
North Thurston head coach Shannon Brigham was thrilled with how her team finished the season. “We had a goal to make it back to State and our North Thurston team was a bit devastated when senior Lindsay Schab had an early season ending injury,” Brigham remarked. “We were bound and determined to make it and the girls worked hard all season learning new skills and boosting their start values on each event improving their overall scores.”
Seniors Jadan Lacey Roberts, Kat (Katheryn) Vieira Castro, Claire Lee and Lily Rose competed at State for Olympia High School. Olympia head coach Maggie O’Connor was happy with her team’s performance over the year. “This was an amazing season for our team because we broke the school team record from 2007 but for me as a coach it’s much more than a win because we created a safe positive environment where everyone is welcomed and can be themselves and support one another,” O’Connor stated. “Our seniors will be missed and have contributed so much to this team. I felt we had a chance to compete at State as a team but with Aubrey McBride having a fever before Districts, we just didn’t have the points to compete for the top of the podium.”
North Thurston brings back a strong individual team for 2023-24 with McKune and Burton returning “The team is losing two very talented seniors, Janay and Kalisha Walker and replacing them will not be an easy task,” coach Brigham remarked. “The team is looking and hoping for new members to join the team next year but we will be working hard as a joint combined team from Timberline, Ridge and Thurston to push each other and support each other.”