State meet closes gymnastics season

Scott Stocker
Posted

THORNTON   The only thing Mountain Range’s Taylor Molliconi was missing at last weekend’s Class 5A state gymnastics championships at Thornton High School was a trip to the top of the awards stand.

Molliconi placed second in the individual competition on vault with a 9.775 score and second on the uneven bars with a 9.65. She tied for fifth on floor with Erica Pollack of Fort Collins, each scoring 9.625 and with no tie-breaker coming into play. The only disappointment was failing to place on the balance beam.

Molliconi’s effort was the finest for the athletes representing the MetroNorth area as she also placed fourth in the all-around with a 38.3 effort. The Mustang’s Maddi Rivas also came through with a fine performance.

Rocky Mountain’s Keri Peel (38.925) and Lauren Glover (38.7), placed one-two respectively in the all-around, followed by pre-meet favorite Claire Hammen of Loveland (38.375). Erick Pollack of Fort Collins (38.225) and Gabby Maiden of Broomfield (37.825) rounded out the field.

“I just think it was a good one for me and I had a lot of fun,” Molliconi said. “On floor, I did a double back pike and I haven’t done that for quite a while, making it all the more exciting. I just wanted to let loose, go out and do the best I could. It was exciting, something to remember for a long time.”

Mountain Range coach, Jo-di Tapia, was pleased, not only with Molliconi’s effort, but the meet’s overall accomplishment from teams and individuals.

“Taylor has been tough and she and Maddi have been excellent leaders with a lot of enthusiasm,” Tapia said. “They are humble and gracious, just great competitors. This has been one of the most talented fields that I’ve seen at state in several years. Six teams with over 180 is phenomenal and this year has been very exciting.”

Rivas placed 17th in the all-around (36.85) and reached the finals on beam, eventually finishing 13th.

“I had so much fun out there against some very tough competition,” Rivas said. ”The key was to just stay focused, be relaxed. I wanted a final on the beam and what I was able to do was icing on the cake.”

Standley Lake coach Kristen Larington and Pomona’s Tracy Boychuk had hoped for higher finishes from their girls. The Gators Zoie Hoben and the Panther’s Kailey Low both finished eighth in their final events, floor and bars, respectively. Katie Leach finished in 31st in the all-around for the Panthers with a 35.525.

“The prelims did not start well for me, but I was able to finish strong today,” Hoben said. “My key was my second-best effort on floor with my 9.55. I really couldn’t feel my body, but it was strong. I knew there was a lot of talent out there. There was noting to lose, I just wanted to do the best I could.”

Low scored a 9.325 on the bars, just missing a ribbon by .13 of a point.

“It was fun and my first time in high school and I feel that I accomplished a lot,” Low said. “I was excited to make a final. I gave it my best shot and my bars have been my best event. I’m very happy as this was my best meet overall of the season.”

“We had the good and the bad results and we did come close to hitting personal bests,” Larrington said. “We did the best we could and we had an OK meet. I thought Hanna would get in more events. She fell on vault twice and we didn’t do great on the bars. We had a lot of seniors who didn’t want to see this end and we only got one in the finals and that was Zoie.”

Added Boychuk, “We only had Kailey in the finals. She is a senior and this is her first time on the team. She is the league champion on bars and it’s nice that she could put a happy ending on her career.”

Thornton’s Sierra Cirylo just missed a ribbon as she finished seventh on vault with a 9.55, only .1 off the sixth-place finish of Overland’s Kellyn Toole.

“It was really a great experience this year since I’m a freshman and making state,” Cirylo said. “I felt I just wanted to do what my body would let me do and go hard. I’m really glad to be here and look forward to coming again.”

And the hopes for three more returns to state for Cirylo are just what Thornton coach Phil Sailas hopes happens.

“Sierra was just great for us,” Sailas said. “She is such a hard working girl and I’m proud of the job she has done, she’s good, she’s tough.”

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