Kallie Randolph's dominating performance lead South High to the Cook Inlet Conference gymnastics championship Saturday at Chugiak High.
Randolph won three of the four events to cruise to all-around honors with 37.25 points, more than a point ahead of runnerup Celina Brown of East.
Randolph posted high scores of 9.5 in both floor exercise and balance beam and picked up another victory by scoring 9.1 in the vault.
Brown denied Randolph a sweep by winning the uneven parallel bars with 9.225 points. Randolph was second with 9.15.
Brown was the clear second in the all-around race with 36.225 points. Third place went to South's Tena Newhouse (35.425), with fourth going to Service's Mira Hopkins (35.275), who was the runnerup in two individual events -- vault and beam.
The meet wrapped up a season that saw a 30 percent increase in participation among the conference's eight schools, even though only two of those schools have the necessary gym space and equipment to host meets and to practice on campus.
According to numbers provided by CIC coaches, 104 girls competed in the sport this year. A year ago, that number was 80.
Most of the teams aren't able to practice or compete at their own schools, either because of limited gym space, the absence of necessary equipment, or both.
South and Service practiced at Dimond most of the season, while West, East and Bartlett practiced off-campus at private gymnastics clubs, meaning added expense and sometimes difficult logistics.
"The East team has experienced some frustration in the past couple of weeks getting to practice after school ... and caused girls to miss a few practices. If they practiced on campus this would not be a problem," East coach Andrea Stearns said in an email.
She said evening practices might make it easier for girls to get to the private clubs, because more parents would be able to available to drive them then. But evenings are more crowded at those gyms.
"There would be less time on the equipment," Stearns said.
The two schools that do get to practice and compete at their own schools may have an advantage over those that have to travel off-campus for practice and never get to host a home meet.
Not that it mattered to South this season. The Wolverines capped an outstanding season Saturday by placing three gymnasts in the top five of the all-around standings. Joining Randolph and Newhouse was fifth-place Kailee Christianson (33.95 points).
South piled up 228.55 team points to easily defeat the two schools that get to practice and compete at their own gyms -- second-place Chugiak (209.35) and third-place Dimond (197.525).
Dimond had to give up its role as host of the CIC championships because the bleachers in the gymnastics gym wouldn't unfold, according to a report in the Alaska Star.
But in order for Chugiak to host the meet, equipment from various other schools had to be transported to the school in order to ensure that all the equipment in use for Saturday's meet met safety standards, school superintendent Carol Comeau said earlier this month.
Comeau said that participation has declined in recent years, although Dimond coach Heather Greenough noted that this season's big increase came despite a hike in the participation fee the ASD charges high school athletes. A year ago, gymnasts paid a $165 fee; this year, they paid $195.
"And the numbers are up despite that," said Greenough, who has been coaching in the district since 2000. "We never had more than 25 (at Dimond), and this year we have 33."
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
Cook Inlet Conference
Team scores -- South 228.55, Chugiak 209.35, Dimond 197.525, Service 189.275, West 180.5, East 155.475, Bartlett 75.5.
All-around -- 1) Kallie Randolph, So, 37.25; 2) Celina Brown, E, 36.225, 3) Tena Newhouse, So, 35.425, 4) Mira Hopkins, Ser, 35.175; 5) Kailee Christianson, So, 33.95; 6) Alex Collins, C, 33.775; 7) Courtney Bailly, So, 33.35; 8) Stephanie Brenner, D, 32.85; 9) Miki Brown, E, 32.7; 10) Jenny Sheasley, W, 32.0.
Vault -- 1) Randolph, So, 9.1; 2) Hopkins, Ser, 8.8; 3) C. Brown, E, 8.6; 4) Bailly, So, 8.45; 5) tie, Collins, C, Brenner, D, and M. Brown, E, 8.35.
Uneven parallel bars -- 1) C. Brown, E, 9.225; 2) Randolph, So, 9.15; 3) Newhouse, So, 9.125; 4) Christianson, So, 8.625; 5) M. Brown, E, 8.5; 6) Collins, C, 8.025; 7) Brenner, D, 8.0.
Balance beam -- 1) Randolph, So, 9.5; 2) Hopkins, Ser, 9.4; 3) C. Brown, E, 9.1; 4) Newhouse, So, 9.0; 5) Bailly, So, 8.775; 6) Collins, C, 8.4; 7) tie, Sheasley, W, and Ashton Bare, D, 8.2.
Floor exercise -- 1) Randolph, So, 9.5; 2) Christianson, So, 9.475; 3) C. Brown, E, 9.3; 4) Hopkins, Ser, 9.175; 5) tie, Newhouse, So, and Collins, C, 9.0; 7) Brenner, D, 8.9.
On the rebound
The number of gymnasts over the last four years at the eight CIC schools.
2008 2009 2010 2011
Bartlett 1 2 3 3
Chugiak 22 22 16 16
Dimond 23 24 24 33
Eagle River 7 8 3 0
East 7 6 7 12
Service 6 7 3 11
South 18 17 16 17
West 18 10 8 12
Totals 102 96 80 104