Prep sports: Kent gymnastics teams get ready to vault into winter season

Coming up on the horizon for winter sports in Kent is gymnastics.

Kentridge and Kentlake both had athletes competing at the state tournament at Sammamish High School. Kentlake was represented by just one athlete and Kentridge was represented by two athletes.

Krystal Bell from Kentlake participated in two events at the 3A state championship. She tied for 68 on vault and cracked the top 50 on the beam, finishing tied for 47.

Kentridge had two athletes compete in at least three events, with that exception being Viki Nikolov, who competed in four. Nikolov placed tied for 37th on beam, tied for 31st on vault and tied for 33rd on bars. Her best event was the floor where she tied for fifth overall. Her teammate Elle Schlecht also did extremely well on the floor as well finishing in 11th. Schlecht also was tied for 33rd on vault and 28th on bars.

Kentlake’s first home meet this season is Dec. 14 as they welcome Tahoma and Kennedy Catholic. Kentwood does not have a home meet all year, but does play three of their six meets at Kent-Meridian. KM hosts Kentwood, Kentlake, and Kennedy Catholic on Dec. 7 to open up their season. Kentridge’s first home meet is in the new year on Jan. 4, when they take on Kennedy Catholic, Kentwood and Kent-Meridian. All meets start at 7 p.m.

About gymnastics

Gymnastics consists of four different events and one classification where athletes can compete in all four categories.

For the first category, we’ll start with the floor, in which an athlete will choose a routine paired with music. The routine is accomplished by doing a set of leaps, flips, twists and turns. The athlete is then judged based on their execution and form as well as staying in bounds through the duration of their routine.

The next category is the vault. The vault is set up with a runway that leads to a spring board to what is referred to as a vaulting table. The athlete runs down the runway, then leaps off the springboard. They then use the vault to help twist and turn off the table. The judges score the event based on the height and distance as well as the athlete’s stability when landing on the mat.

Following the vault, we move to the balance beam. The beam is four feet in the air. Gymnasts focus on keeping their balance while doing turns, flips and jumps. The judge scores the athlete by how stable they are on the beam, and the difficulty of the actions they do on the beam.

The uneven parallel bars are the last event for gymnasts. The lower set of bars is set at 5.4 feet and the higher bar is 7.8 feet in the air. While on the bars, gymnasts jump between bars and do flips and twists. They receive points based on the quality of skill and level of complexity. They are also scored on their dismount and keeping a straight line throughout their routine.

The final event is the all around. To be an all around athlete means that gymnasts will compete in every single event.

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