Super sophomores make a show a state

TACOMA — The road most traveled this weekend ended with two North Kitsap/Kingston gymnasts placing in the state competition. The NKK “Vikaneers” wore a groove in the pavement between North Kitsap and the Tacoma Dome this weekend, driving back and forth for the WIAA state gymnastics championship.

Sophomores Mckenna Elves and Melissa Kunold both hint at a strong future in the sport after their performances.

In the floor competition, Elves’ routine was the third one of many in the Tacoma Dome.

“She scored a 9.3,” said head coach Kris Goodfellow. “In the past, 9.3 was right on the bubble. So we kept our fingers crossed.”

Sometimes, crossed fingers does the trick. The most difficult moments for Goodfellow and Elves came as the last team - Woodinville High - took to the mat. Woodinville’s entire team qualified for state, so if Elves was going to get bumped from her No. 10 slot the higher-ranking score was likely to come from Woodinville, Goodfellow said.

To Goodfellow’s relief, the higher score didn’t come and Elves’ floor routine took 10th place.

Kunold did just what a gymnast should -- she saved her best performance for the state competition.

“Melissa probably had her best bar routine and best vault at state. She peaked right when she needed to,” Goodfellow said. Based on difficulty, the maximum points Kunold’s vault could have earned was 8.9. She ended up with an 8.65 and 25th place.

On the bars, Kunold’s routine could have scored a possible 9. Her 8.3 earned 18th place.

“That’s the highest bar score she’s had all season,” Goodfellow said. “Melissa definitely has the potential to go back to state on those two events.”

Goodfellow already has an eye on the future. This year, the combined team was in the highly competitive 4A bracket. The placement was based North Kitsap’s student population from two years ago.

When Kingston opened this year, the student population at North Kitsap dropped the school into the 3A bracket. Goodfellow hopes there will be enough interest in gymnastics at Kingston that the Buccaneers will be able to sustain their own team.

Logistically, not much would change. The two teams would still practice together and travel together. The only difference is they’d be scored as two separate teams in competitions.

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