The first gymnastics meet of the year commenced Dec. 14 at Auburn High School for Federal Way, Auburn Riverside, Auburn and Auburn Mountainview.
Crystal Tate is the head coach for the Auburn Trojans and also coaches the Mountainview girls. Coaching two teams may seem a little stressful, but for Tate, “the hardest thing is finding something to wear.”
The two schools under one coaching staff have really created a good community atmosphere, she said.
“The girls adore each other,” she said. “They practice together and bond together.”
There are a total of eight gymnasts that competed on Thursday among the two schools that Tate coaches. Her best performer was Payton Flannery from Auburn Mountainview who came in eighth place in the meet with 16.45 points in her three events (5.4 Floor, 6.85 Beam, 4.2 Bars, 0 Vault).
Ravens senior Jade Porter finished second overall at the meet. The 2022 state qualifier Porter also competed at state as a diver this fall. Porter was by far the strongest competitor facing a tough Federal Way Eagles team. Porter was third on Floor (8.3 points), Beam (7.45), Bars (6.6) and second on the vault (8.4). Those scores combined to beat Federal Way’s Jazlyn Jones by half a point — Jones 30.25, Porter 30.75.
Federal Way had the best finish of the four schools at the meet with a total of six finishers inside the top 10. For Coach Tate, that road to state is a difficult one and playing a school like Federal Way is a good marker to see where her girls are.
“It’s hard, it’s very hard,” she said. “Sometimes you just have your day though.”
Last year the Trojans’ best finisher was Michaela Reynolds, who competed in the all-around and finished just outside the top 20.
Both schools combined for four returners this year with two from each school. But there are a total of 10 Trojans and five Lions accounting for nine new gymnasts for Tate to coach. If Mountainview decides to hire their own coach next season, Tate would only coach Auburn.
“I want Mountainview back again. I like them. I could lose my girls,” said Tate, who was very clear that she loves her girls, but the idea of not coaching the Lions is not up to her.
She has eight weeks left in the season before the state tournament and will look to get both schools represented in that tournament at Sammamish High school Feb. 23. But before then, Riverside and Mountainview will be back at the Auburn Auxiliary Gym to compete again on Jan. 4.