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Archive for Sunday, November 6, 2005

Lions repeat as champions

LHS takes team title; West again wins all-around crown

November 6, 2005

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Lawrence High won its 100th state championship Saturday, and did it in monumental fashion.

The LHS gymnastics team won its second consecutive state championship, edging out Olathe East by .525 of a point.

"I am just really proud of our girls," said LHS coach Kathy Johnson, who also coaches Free State High.

The Firebirds finished sixth in the meet with 101.525 points.

The best team in the state also had the best overall gymnast. Mallory West won the individual all-around competition with a score of 37.350, one-tenth of a point better than the runner-up, Brianna Willard of Olathe North.

West also won the state championship on the balance beam.

Lawrence High's Abby Jones pushes off on her vault during state competition. Jones finished fifth in the event at Saturday's meet with a score of 9.25.

Lawrence High's Abby Jones pushes off on her vault during state competition. Jones finished fifth in the event at Saturday's meet with a score of 9.25.

"I would say it probably was my best performance of the year," West said. "I knew that our whole team had potential and if we just went out there and hit we could win."

The Lions did hit on almost every apparatus, especially the vault and uneven bars. Johnson said some new skills on the uneven bars and the vault, combined with the fact that the gymnasts executed the skills well, was the element that separated LHS from the competition.

The Lions' Abby Jones and West place first and second, respectively, on the uneven bars.

Jones said she added a new skill to her dismount on the uneven bars, which helped boost her score.

"I added a double full to my dismount and so that was pretty big," she said.

The team championship came down to Olathe East's performance on the floor routine. LHS completed its rotation before Olathe East, so all the Lions could do was watch. Olathe East needed a combined 28.3 from its top three scores to win the state title.

West said she didn't watch Olathe East's floor routines. Neither could Jones. West went into the locker room by herself, while Jones and some of her teammates sat outside.

"We didn't know what score they needed but we knew that there had to be something not to hit for us to win," West said.

The Hawks didn't hit. Beth Copeland, who finished third in the all-around competition, was East's best hope for a high score, and she fell on her first tumbling pass. Other minor slip-ups also hurt the Hawks.

Jones said she immediately knew when she walked back in the gym that they had won.

"We could just tell by the atmosphere and the fans," Jones said. "Plus, somebody told us."

Johnson said she thought that LHS gymnasts were impacted by the thought of being the team that brought the 100th state championship to the school.

"They had a big pep rally on Friday and they really wanted to get that 100th championship," Johnson said. "They all wanted this one pretty bad."

Perry-Lecompton junior Jennifer Pogge finished fifth in the all-around with 36.5 points, while Free State freshman Amelia Firns-Hubert was the top performer for the Firebirds, claiming 10th in the all-around.

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