PUYALLUP — Sometimes, second place is just fine for Kris Goodfellow, head coach of the combined North Kitsap and Kingston high schools’ varsity gymnastics team. Especially when only one point separated her gymnasts from Rogers High School of Puyallup — the same Rogers that placed fourth in last year’s state meet.
Goodfellow feels both frustration and elation in her team’s second-place finish with 146.1 points, compared to Rogers’ 147.2 points.
“We did really well for our first meet,” Goodfellow said. “Rogers is one of the high schools that went to state last year as a team, and we came within one point of beating them. I knew it was going to be a close meet, I just didn’t know how close.”
Also competing in the meet were Auburn, with 135.7 points, and Sumner, a two-person team that finished with 59.5 points.
The second-place finish is both exciting and frustrating for the team, which has adopted “Vikaneers,” a cross-mix of Buccaneers and Vikings, for its mascot. Overall, NK/K took second place with 146.1 points to Rogers’ 147.2.
The Vikaneers did have one clear disadvantage as the meet was conducted on different flooring than they were used to. The Vikaneers practice at Zero Gravity, which has spring mats. At Rogers, the gymnastics team is fortunate enough to have a space for practices and meets inside the high school. As a result, Rogers uses wrestling mats for their practices and meets.
“Turning and tumbling were a huge disadvantage for us and a huge advantage for them. I think in the end that’s what made the difference,” Goodfellow said. “If our girls were able to do their routines without all their tumbling difficulties, it would have put us on top.”
Each event starts with a set score and points are added or deducted for technique and skill levels. Each high school team is allowed 10 competitors per event. The top five scores for each team are added to get the team’s overall score.
In the end, Goodfellow decided her gymnasts’ health was more important than high scores so she told them to go easy on the tumbling.
“I didn’t want them to tumble because I didn’t want them to get hurt. Tumbling wasn’t impossible, they’re just not used to the wrestling mats,” she said. “I didn’t want them twisting their ankle during the first meet.”
While she’s proud of her team as a whole, she said standouts Alice Pittack, Mckenna Elves and Melissa Kunold did exceptionally well.
“Alice (Pittack) had a really good meet. She stayed on the beam for her whole routine,” Goodfellow said. “She was the only gymnast on our team who did all the required tumbling on the wrestling mats.”
Kunold had an exceptional performances on the vault, bars and floor. She fell from the beam twice, which is very uncharacteristic for her, interrupting an otherwise great performance.
“Melissa had a good meet except for the beam. She fell twice, and that’s not usually the case,” she said.
To round out the top three, Elves placed in all four events and Goodfellow expects Elves’ scores will improve as the season progresses.
“It was a good first meet for Mckenna. Her floor score will go up. She chose not to do all the requirements on the tumbling, and that hurt a little bit,” Goodfellow said.