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Originally published February 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Page modified February 21, 2014 at 8:24 PM

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Enumclaw comes up just short of winning third straight state title | 3A/2A Gymnastics

Enumclaw (178.425) finishes second to Kamiakin (181.7) as the Braves win their second state title in four years.

Special to The Seattle Times

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TACOMA – When you post your best score of the season, it’s tough to feel glum about taking second place, even when you’re the two-time defending state champions.

“No complaints,” said Enumclaw coach Ben Skipworth after the Hornets, despite a season-best score of 178.425, finished second behind Kamiakin (181.7) Friday at the 3A/2A state gymnastics meet at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.

“We had a great meet,” said Skipworth, who has guided Enumclaw to second, first, first and now another second at state in the four years gymnastics has been a varsity sport at Enumclaw. “Everyone did really well. Kamiakin is just a great team.”

The Braves from Kennewick needed a season-best score of its own to get past Enumclaw. Kamiakin had two early falls on its beam, its final rotation, but got big scores from Alexis Lawrence (9.4) and Danielle Brandon (9.575, tops in the meet) to clinch the school’s second state title in four years.

“The group I have right now is very competitive,” said coach Sarah Garrett, in her 16th season at Kamiakin, “and it takes that competitiveness in you to strive even higher at moments like this.”

Following the top two teams were Mount Si (168.6), Decatur (164.0), Columbia River (159.5), Lake Washington (157.55), Holy Names (157.375) and North Kitsap (154.825).

Kamiakin and Enumclaw placed three gymnasts each among the top eight all-around finishers.

Lawrence, a level-10 club gymnast in her first season of high-school competition, won the all-around crown with a total of 38.3 — a personal best in club or prep meets. She posted the top scores on vault, bars and floor and looms as a favorite in Saturday’s state individual finals.

“It’s really a good moment,” said Lawrence, a junior. “I’ve been doing gymnastics my whole life, and I’ve never been able to do any high-school sports, so I decided to try it. It’s a different environment. Here I get recognized. No one really knows about club gymnastics.”

Second in all-around with a 38.05 was Kiya Bjorge of Southridge (Kennewick), another level-10 gymnast who won the 2012 all-around title. Enumclaw’s Olivia Bannerot (37.95) took third, followed by Sammamish junior Nykaela Dodson (37.175).

Bannerot, the 2013 state bars champion, claimed her fourth straight top-five finish in 3A/2A all-around.

“For us it was a celebration meet to show off what we can do, and we had our best meet of the season,” said Bannerot, a three-sport star who will next be a sprinter for Enumclaw’s track team. “It was a lot of fun. I could not be more proud of our team.”

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