When Sammamish senior gymnast Sydney Griswold woke up on the first day of the 1A/2A/3A gymnastics meet on Feb. 20, she was hit with a flood of emotions. As a senior, this was her last time competing with the Sammamish gymnastics team.
“It hit hard, not that gymnastics was ending, but that it was my last hurrah with this team,” Griswold said. “This team means everything to me and the biggest thing for me is the fact that we made it as a team to state. I’m one of the captains, so just feeling like I helped lead the team to state was huge.”
Griswold helped the Totems to a second-place finish in the team competition with a season-high score of 180.950. During the event finals on Feb. 21, Griswold competed on bars (tied for third, 9.350) and beam (tied for eighth, 9.250).
In four years with the Sammamish gymnastics team, Griswold won six individual state titles, but she hopes her legacy at Sammamish is about more than just high scores.
“I’m hoping to leave a legacy with these girls that gymnastics is not only about the sport,” Griswold said. “It’s about the love for (gymnastics), your confidence, your mentality and just enjoying what you do.”
The Totems qualified for state as a team by finishing second at the 2A/3A District 2 gymnastics meet on Feb. 15. Griswold said the team success is a result of its talent and team atmosphere.
“I feel like we have so much grit, so much support, so much love and all-around care and want to do better for each other,” Griswold said. “That’s what really counts.”
At the district meet, Griswold won the all-around competition for the fourth straight year with a score of 38.350.
After an ankle injury two weeks before the KingCo championships, Griswold wasn’t sure that she would be competing in the all-around, specifically her vault. Griswold said with the help of family, teammates, massages and physical therapy, she was able to return to competing in the all-around just in time for the league championships and districts.
During the district meet, Griswold competed her Yurchenko vault, scoring a 9.725 and finishing second behind teammate Aiko Harai.
“It all came together at the right time and it was amazing,” Griswold said. “I competed all-around at KingCo and I did a front handspring (on vault), but I really wanted to do a Yurchenko in the all-around for myself, for my team and to make me feel better about my gymnastics and to feel like I’m back to my old self.”
For Griswold, gymnastics is a performance, and her floor routine shows it. The moment her music starts up, the audience’s attention is drawn to the floor.
“I’ve always been somewhat of a dancer, and music always gets me in that mood to have fun and I think gymnastics is a performance and floor is not just about the tumbling,” Griswold said. “I know that judges love to see the presentation and getting the crowd into it. It feels good to me that everybody is oohing and aahing.”
While the end of the season meant it was time for Griswold to say goodbye to the Sammamish gymnastics team, the senior said she wasn’t saying goodbye to the sport. Griswold said she is planning to compete at senior nationals this spring in Florida. After that, she is hoping to pursue college gymnastics as a walk-on.
“I really don’t think I’m done with gymnastics,” Griswold said. “I’m hoping to work hard and get the skills needed to maybe specialize and walk on to Oregon State University.”