Gymnastics teams gear up for end-of-season meets |

Gymnastics teams gear up for end-of-season meets

— After a season filled with tumbling, vaults and bars, members of the Excel Gymnastics teams are gearing up for several big late-season meets.

“For a lot of our gymnasts, this is what they have been working for all year,” coach Mike Smith said. “For others, this will be a shot at getting to the regional meet a few weeks later.”

Smith, who owns Excel and is the coach of the boys team, has taken a squad of athletes to five regular season meets since January.

The boys level 4 and level 5 athletes opened things up Jan. 12 at 20 Mile Athletic Center in Centennial. Members of the Excel team also traveled to meets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, to a meet in Boulder Feb. 7, to a meet in Arizona Feb. 20 and 21 and another in Wheat Ridge March 7.

The team also hosted the Ski Town Invitational Jan. 24 at Excel Gymnastics and enjoyed a solid showing in the hometown gymnasium.

The team has been building toward several end-of-season meets including the state championships this weekend at 5280 Gymnastics in Wheat Ridge for the older athletes, and the younger athletes will head to Golden Gymnastics in Lakewood for the younger gymnasts.

“I am so proud of how hard all of the kids are working this year,” Smith said. “They are competing well and earning lots of podium finishes. They just keep getting better every week.”

Not to be outdone, the three members of the girls optional team are also enjoying some top results at meets this season despite the fact that one of the team’s top athletes has been on the bench this season. Taylor Rogers is training, but Smith said she elected to take a year off to heal from some nagging injuries.

“The optional level girls are competing together as a group this year, the first time in a long time. They are working hard, having a lot of fun and being successful while they do it,” said Steve Murray, girls coach.

The team competed in fewer meets this season but is also building toward the state meet, which will take place April 10 to 12 at Bear Creek High School.

“This is the meet we have been working for all season,” Murray said.

The meet will mark the end of the year for the girls since there is no opportunity to advance to a larger regional meet.

“I will measure this team’s success by the way they work, by the way they continue to improve and by whether they are having fun,” Murray said.

• The team’s younger boy athletes (level 4 and 5) traveled to 20 Mile Athletic Center in Centennial for a full day of competition. Highlights from the meet included 7-year-old Max David who finished first in both the still rings and high bar with scores of 10.4 and 10.8, respectively. He also collected a third-place finish on the pommel horse with a score of 9.2. His level 5 teammates Jace Rabesa, who competed in the 8-year-old division, and Mitch Kucera also enjoyed strong showings. A fourth place showing on the pommel horse with a score of 10.1 and an eighth-place showing on the parallel bars with a score of 9.1 highlighted Rebesa’s meet. Kucera placed third on the pommel horse with a score of 9.8.

• The older boys opened their season Jan. 16 and 17 at the Junior Rocky Mountain Open at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Eric Casey, a level 9 competitor, placed sixth on the still rings with a score of 10.6 and earned an eighth-place on the floor with a score of 12.2. He was 12th in the all-around competition with a score of 61.70. Cole Gibbs earned an eighth place showing on the vault with a score of 12.7 and was 12th with a score of 12.20 in the level 10 competition.

• Excel hosted its one and only home meet, The Ski Town Invitational, Jan. 24 at the gymnasium on the west side of Steamboat. Top finishes included Davis, who earned first-place finishes in both the pommel horse and vault in the level 4 division. He also earned a second-place medal for his showing on the floor. Kade Lawton, another level 4 competitor, was third on the pommel horse. Kucera was second in both the pommel horse and vault, and Rabesa pocketed a second on the rings and high bar for his performance. Casey placed first in the pommel and third in both the floor and the vault.

• The girls’ team traveled to Boulder Jan. 31 for the Stiletto meet. At that meet, Arianna Tullis placed first in the floor exercise and 10th in the all around in the Level 6 Jr. B division. Sisters Amie and Emma Cooke placed well in the level 6 Sr. B division. Emma collected first-place finishes on the vault and the floor exercise and a second on the uneven bars helping her move into third in the all-around competition. Amie earned a seventh in floor exercise and was 11th in the all-around results.

• The boys’ team traveled to Boulder Feb. 7 to compete in the Boulder Flyers Invitational. Rabesa who competed in the Jr. A division placed second on the pommel horse and fourth on the parallel bars. Kucera competed in the Jr. C division where he won first place on the pommel horse. Casey placed second on the pommel horse at level 9, and Gibbs picked up first-place finishes on the floor, vault and parallel bars. He also finished second on the high bar and was second in the all-around standings with a score of 65.1.

• Tullis joined the boys’ team during a trip to Chandler, Arizona, Feb. 20 for the Sun Devil Classic. Gibbs finished fifth in the pommel horse despite getting injured earlier in the meet. Murray said the trip was a good experience for Tullis.

• The boys regular season came to a close March 7 at the Tigar meet in Wheat Ridge. Highlights included Rabesa’s second place finish in the race for the all-round title. He lost out to the winner by a 10th of a point. The Steamboat gymnast placed first in the pommel horse, rings and parallel bars.

• The girls team traveled to Longmont for a competition at Airborne Gymnastics. Emma Cooke placed first on the bars and second on both the vault and floor to finish first in the all-around. Tullis tied for fourth on the floor, was 11th on the bars and 14th in the vault. Amie Cooke tied her sister for sixth on the balance beam, was 10th on the bars and tied for 11th on the vault.

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