USA Gymnastics got a new start on Whidbey Island only a year ago when coach Debbie Wilkie of the burgeoning gymnastics program at Island Dance took her brand new team, Island Dance Gymnastics, to two meets at the end of last season.
They did very well, with gymnast Lilly Schmidt qualifying and competing at both sectionals and state.
On Saturday Jan. 13 the team arrived for a 9 a.m. warm-up — after a 5 a.m. wake-up call — on Bainbridge Island at the first meet of the season, warmly hosted by Bainbridge Island Gymnastics. Seven teams were there to compete in USA Gymnastics
Coach Wilkie and team parents had devised a score-keeping system that emphasized each gymnast’s personal best in order to focus on individual achievement in each event: beam, bars, floor, vault and all-around (AA).
Lots of hard work by each athlete, parental support and the exceptional leadership of Wilkie along with the help of new assistant coach, Ann Votava, paid off as every team member achieved one or more personal bests.
In alphabetical order by first name: Emily Clay — beam, bars, AA; Kendall Jones — beam, vault, AA; Lilliannna Stelling — vault, bars, AA; Lilly Schmidt — vault; Madison McPhee — vault; Melissa Smith — beam, floor, vault, bars, AA; Tess Radisch — beam, vault, AA; Weslee Doucette — bars, AA.
Each Island Dance Gymnastics team member stood on the podium and received a medal representing how their individual all-around scores compared to all the other gymnasts from the seven competing teams in each age group.
Later, the team awards were presented, based on a composite of high gymnasts’ scores for each team. The Whidbey Island team demonstrated the extraordinary achievements of individual athletes — 100 percent achieving their personal best and 100 percent receiving meet placement medals — while also bringing home the first team trophy in the history of Island Dance Gymnastics for third place.
The next meet is in Lynnwood at Northwest Ariels at 1 p.m. Feb. 3. For details on the gymnastics program, call 341-1282.