Cherry Creek's Sela Buted wished she could have done a bit better in the Class 5A state gymnastics meet at Thornton High School on Nov. 1-2. But when an individual comes away with a gold medal in at least one event, there are certainly smiles.
Buted scored a solid 9.775 to win gold on the balance beam, just edging Broomfield's Sarah Holbrook, who scored 9.725. Yet, she had hoped that her team could have done a lot better as well.
Overland just nipped Broomfield for the team championship with a score of 187.95 to Broomfield's 187.5.
Cherry Creek, coached by Melissa Holmberg, had to settle for fifth in the team standings, scoring 182.575.
Buted tied for second on floor with Holbrook, scoring 9.65, but the tiebreaker went to her opponent, thus taking home the bronze medal instead. She did not qualify for the finals in either the uneven bars or vault. The floor was won by Overland's Devin Bundas (9.675).
“This whole season we've worked hard and today we had one of our best meets of the season,” Buted said. “Thankfully, it comes at state. We did the best with what we have right now. We pushed hard and I'm so proud of our team.
“I think it ended well,” Buted said. “I'm a senior and this is my last meet and I'm happy. I wish I could have done a little better as I was very nervous. But a championship? That's certainly a good way to finish.”
Cherry Creek's Rachel Wong also came through with a pretty solid performance for the Bruins. She finished third on the bars (9.55) and had also qualified for the finals on floor. Bundas, by the way, came away with her second gold medal in floor, scoring 9.675, while the bars title went to Arvada West's Katlin Kerl (9.85).
“This is the first year that I've done high school gymnastics, as I've always been in club,” said Wong, a junior. “The key was to do well, and bars have been my best this year. I really liked the high school atmosphere and the team. This was one of the best decisions I've ever made when it comes to gymnastics.”
Holmberg had also hoped for higher results from all those on the team. Yet, to finish as the Bruins did with all their challenges this season brought a smile to her face.
“I think it was a challenge all year,” Holmberg said. “We've had illness and injuries to overcome. We talked all season on how we could build upon one another and not just one girl. We came together, but it has been a rough go. Still, for what the girls have been able to accomplish under all our conditions has been good. We talked all season on how we could build on one another.”
Alaina Bolton was the only other Cherry Creek gymnast to reach the finals. However, she had to settle for 15th on bars. And, it's been an interesting season for Bolton, a junior.
“The key for me is that I had a good bar routine to get this far,” Bolton said. “(Friday) was the first day that I've vaulted all season. I had the broken foot and it's been an effort to overcome. I'm just proud how we've all done. It has been difficult to overcome injuries, but the girls have been strong all year.
“(Saturday) was a disappointment on bars,” Bolton said. “I fell, but got up and continued to do what I do to the end. I'll be glad to come back next year. My good thoughts are with all my teammates.”
Ponderosa finished 10th in the team competition with 173.225 points
“The girls did better than we thought and it has just been great, just unexplainable as to how they've been able to react and exceed expectations,” Ponderosa coach Lisa Fischer said during the Nov. 1 competition. “This has been one of the most fun state meets and I just don't know how we'll finish. I've just been so excited for the girls. This is a very young team and this is such a valuable experience.”
The Ponderosa girls were excited, but they, too, knew they were in for a very competitive weekend. There was disappointment on not reach the finals, but they looked upon it as a good key for next season. While not coming away with medals, the Mustangs' Miranda Mickelsen, McKenna Moede and Cara Redalen were pleased with how the season finished.
“I was staying focused and happy and just wanted to make sure that I was able to try my best,” said Miranda Mickelsen. “I'm a senior and this is my last time. I just wanted to throw it all out on the floor and overcome any obstacles. I had my high this season on beam. I'm so sad the season is over.”
“The key for me was having the team here,” said Moede. “We've worked hard together and we didn't have our best floor. I just wanted to stay focused. I was excited as this was the first time we've made it in four years. I think this is a good way to get us ready for next season.”
Added Redalen: “Floor seemed to bring out the best in all of us and we had our best score this season as a team. I was excited. This was a good way to go out this season and will help us build for next year.”