Goals still high for gymnasts

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By Dan Johnson

Caitlin Sanchez figures she’s done hundreds of vaults in her gymnastics career.

So, when the Evergreen senior landed awkwardly at a recent meet at Bear Creek High School, she knew something was wrong.

Sanchez not only dislocated the knee, but tore the anterior and medial-collateral ligaments in her left leg and will miss the remainder of the season.

Unfortunately for Sanchez, sitting on the sidelines is not unfamiliar territory. Last year, she broke her ankle.

“It’s a little harder this year, being my senior year,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez, though, was still visible Sept. 20, cheering on her teammates as they competed in the Cougar Invitational at Evergreen High School. The Cougars entered the year as the top-ranked team in Class 4A according to the Rocky Mountain News.

While the loss of Sanchez is tough, she is still confident the rest of the girls can perform well enough to help Evergreen reach its goal of a team title at state.

“We definitely still have the depth (to win),” said senior Mandy Flesche, who finished fifth in the all-around with a score of 33.625. Her best finish came in the vault, where she took second. “We changed our motto; it’s now ‘state for Kate.’ Her injury kind of threw everyone for a loop, but we’ve refocused and we’re dedicating everything to her.”

The Cougars were clearly the class of the nine-team field on Sept. 20. Not only did the varsity squad win the team title with a score 171.950 points, the Evergreen “B” team finished third.

“It’s so great,” Flesche said of the team hosting an invitational. “I think everyone is excited to be here competing on our own floor. It’s really fun.”

Bethel Lindsley took the all-around title for the Cougars. She finished first in vault, second in bars, third in floor and third in beam.

Allison Robinette, who missed significant time in 2007 with an ankle injury, put together a solid routine on the beam and won the event with a score of 8.925.

Cougar Invitational

Team scores: Evergreen 171.950, Rock Canyon 163.525, Evergreen “B” 158.875, Ponderosa 158.575, Fort Morgan 157.9, Summit 157.575, Pine Creek 153.375, Canyon City 143.55, Denver East 78.2.

All-around: 1. Bethel Lindsley, 36.375; 5. Mandy Flesche, 33.625; 10. Micala Mitchek, 33.05; 11. Chancey Hines, 32.575; 12. Jessica Himmelman, 32.5; 15. Dani Adams, 31.4 (all scores above 32 are state-qualifying scores).

Bars: 2. Lindsley, 9.2; 6. Allison Robinette, 8.775; 7. Flesche, 8.7; 8. Cori Graves, 8.625; 9. Hines, 8.425; 10. Himmelman, 8.275; 12. Lily Werthan, 8.25; 14. Mitchek, 8.15; 17. Adams, 8.05 (all above 8.0 state qualifiers).

Beam: 1. Robinette, 8.925; 3. Lindsley, 8.675; 4. Mitchek, 8.65; 7. Himmelman, 8.425; 14. Hines, 8.0; 17. Natalie Boor, 7.8 (all 8.0 and above state qualifiers).

Floor: 3. Lindsley, 9.15; 7. Kelsey Valdez, 8.75; 10. Flesche, 8.6; 10. Rose, 8.6; 15. Werthan, 8.3; 16. Hines, 8.275; 17. Mitchek, 8.25; 17. Robinette, 8.25 (all 8.5 and above state qualifiers).

Vault: 1. Lindsley, 9.35; 2. Flesche, 9.05; 5. Valdez, 8.6; 14. Werthan, 8.3; 16. Adams, 8.1; 18. Kelly Creel, 8.05 (all 8.5 and above state qualifiers).