Sammamish freshman Micah Laughary performs her beam routine during a meet on Jan. 9 at Issaquah High School. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Sammamish freshman Micah Laughary performs her beam routine during a meet on Jan. 9 at Issaquah High School. Benjamin Olson/staff photo

Totems tumble their way to big scores

The Sammamish gymnastics team focuses on having fun.

The Sammamish girls are focused on doing gymnastics for the fun of the sport.

“The girls who come from club are here for fun,” head coach Jessica Buck said. “They’re here to fall back in love with the sport and to remember why they started doing it. Gymnastics can be very individual, so you find a team environment here and you’re supporting each other. The girls love that.”

The Totems have won their first three meets of the season, eclipsing a total team score of 173 in all of their meets. The Totems earned their second-highest team score of the season with a 175 at a quad meet on Jan. 9 at Issaquah High School. The 2A Sammamish team finished first, ahead of three 4A schools.

Sammamish had three of the top four gymnasts in the all-around, with Lilje Stratton in fourth, Aiko Hirai in third and Sydney Griswold in second.

Buck said the team is working hard and coming into practice and working on new skills.

“We’re excited to see where it goes,” Buck said. “We haven’t had a meet where we’re throwing our full start value, so we’re excited to see where that goes towards the postseason.”

With plenty of talented gymnasts and a good senior class, Buck said they have plenty of gymnasts putting up big skills.

“We have a girl on beam, senior Mia Keane, who throws a D-level skill,” Buck said. “She doesn’t have a gymnastics background at all. It’s a huge skill, a tuck full, she does it amazingly every time.”

Buck said that she thinks they can have multiple girls qualify for state.

“We’re hoping to qualify as many as possible from our postseason lineup,” Buck said. “We can take six on each event, so we’re hoping six girls on each event go to state.”

For Buck, coaching high school gymnastics provides an exciting challenge. She said coaching a team with a wide range of gymnastics experience is her favorite part of the job.

“You sort of get a little bit of everything,” Buck said. “You can coach girls who have never done it and focus on cartwheels and handstands, but you’re also coaching big skills. So it’s an array of things and it’s fun trying to organize it.”

Some of the more experienced gymnasts also help coach the girls who have never done gymnastics before.

“It’s cool because they’re pulling information they didn’t even know they had,” Buck said. “Which is helping them in the long run too.”

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