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Rebuilding Cougars have room to grow

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Youthful Evergreen pushes 5A power Standley Lake

By Chelsy Woods Klein

LAKEWOOD —Barely bigger than an elementary school student, Evergreen freshman gymnast Callie Cohen stood tall on the beam and flew through the air on the uneven bars when the Lady Cougars faced Standley Lake on Oct. 3 in their dual meet at Bear Creek High School.
With her 15th birthday just days after the meet, Cohen knew that she had a lot to prove — both for herself and for her team.
Evergreen lost three of its strongest gymnasts from last season’s 4A state championship team — Kelsey Valdez and Ashley Perry, both graduated, and Emily Rivers left the team to focus on club gymnastics. Their departures created a big hole in Evergreen’s depth. A hole that Cohen hopes she can help fill.
For her part, Cohen got an 8.825 for first place in the uneven bars, 8.075 on the balance beam, and 8.475 on the floor exercise to place third in the all-around with a score of 33.375. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough to stop 5A powerhouse Standley Lake from scoring a 170.8-161.3 team victory.
“I feel a lot of responsibility to help our team get back to where they were before,” Cohen said. “(Evergreen) used to win meets all the time and now we have to rebuild and hopefully I can help us win again.”
“This is totally a rebuilding year,” Evergreen head coach Marnie Bello said.
Rebuilding is a sentiment that many coaches use when they know they have to bide their time until they are back on top again. Rebuilding is also the thing that stokes the fire to win again.
Although she was too busy coaching to gawk, Bello knew that Evergreen’s toughest competition for the past three years Elizabeth, which was beating host Bear Creek 172.2-168.25 in the night’s other dual match, was putting up big numbers against Bear Creek.
 “These are some of the best teams in the league,” Bello said. “We would have to bring it no matter what if we wanted to beat these guys.”
Olivia O’Toole placed second in the vault with an 8.7 score, while Erika Kissler was fourth on the uneven bars with an 8.4. She also had an 8.4 on the balanced beam to finish second in the overall with a 33.55 score. Tori Harrel was first overall with a 33.95.