By Valerie Shelton & Nick Baker
In the mighty Tri-River Athletic Conference, it’s not unusual to see a championship competition come down to the wire, but to say last week’s TRAC Varsity Gymnastics Championships was a nail-biter is a bit of an understatement, as the top two teams—Clovis North and Buchanan—were separated in the end by only three tenths of a point.
The Bears team, which hasn’t won the championship since 1998, was able to secure the win with a total team score of 140.45, just ever so slightly above the Broncos final score 140.15.
“We’ve been very close the last couple of years,” Bears Head Coach Shannon Moser said after the big win. “This year, the girls were bound and determined to win.”
Despite an unsettling start for the Bears—one of their top gymnasts on bars early on in the competition—Moser said each team member kept their composure and seemed even more motivated to excel in the other three events.
“Gymnastics is primarily an individual sport, so if you don’t do well as an individual it brings the team score down,” Moser said. “So each girl worked extremely hard individually, perfecting their skills, staying humble and staying focused. In our first event, the bars, our number two girl fell. That could have set a bad tone for the rest of the competition, but they didn’t let it get to them. Our next event was the balance beam, which is a very difficult event, and they kept their focus on the beam and they all had great beam routines…The girl that fell was able to continue. She laughed it off, refocused and stuck her beam routine…Next, they had to do the floor routines and they all performed very well there. Lastly, we competed in the vault and our girls also did well in that event.”
Buchanan’s top scorer, placing second overall, was Remington Mahlum. Mahlum said it was exciting that her team was able to squeak out the TRAC win.
For Mahlum, the win was extra meaningful as this was her last gymnastics competition. Next year in college, Mahlum plans to focus on track and field. She currently competes in the pole vault, triple jump, 100 hurdle and 300 hurdle track and field events for the Buchanan Bears team.
“I’m a senior and I’ve been a part of this since freshman year and we hadn’t won before, but we knew what we wanted and went for it and this was the best way for me to exit my Buchanan gymnastics career,” Mahlum said.
Mahlum said the key to the big win was consistency.
“I placed second for the varsity A level and I’ve never won gold, and our next best girl took third overall in varsity A, so it wasn’t about being on top in every event, it was about our consistency as a team. None of us are the best, but we all got good scores,” Mahlum said.
It was a struggle, Mahlum added, especially after her teammate’s unfortunate fall on bars.
“One of the best girls we had on bars, our first event, fell, and we had to come together as a team and do our best,” Mahlum said. “We just moved forward to the next event, not thinking about what happened or getting caught up in our failure and that is how we were able to harness that close win by three tenths over Clovis North. For me, that is the closest margin I’ve ever experienced.”
Mahlum also credits her coach with vaulting the Bears to the top.
“She definitely pushed us,” Mahlum said. “At the end we were all so much better than at the beginning and that is thanks to her.”
Although Buchanan had the highest team score, the individual gymnast at the top of the leaderboard was Clovis North High School’s Madison Isaak.
With a big smile on her face and a modest sense of accomplishment, Isaak stood atop all of the events from last Thursdays TRAC Gymnastics Finals.
Isaak dominated and placed gold in all four events—the vault, balance beam, bars and floor routine—an impressive feat for the young sophomore.
Isaak explained her journey after her sweeping in the TRAC Finals and her future with gymnastics. Said Isaak: “I have been training in gymnastics my whole life since I was three years old and my whole 11-year career of being a gymnast has been here at Clovis Academy gymnastics.”
Already, Isaak has received a lot of attention from colleges around the nation but hasn’t received any official offers as of yet due to the NCAA regulations associated with Gymnastics. Isaak said the interest from colleges really picked up after she attended a huge summer camp hosted by UCLA over the summer.
“That’s when I think the colleges really took notice and I have received more attention since then,” Isaak said. All colleges have to wait until a gymnast’s junior year of high school before they can offer official scholarships, but it’s already clear that Isaak won’t have any shortage of options to choose from when the time comes.
Below are the complete results from the TRAC gymnastics championships:
Varsity A Results
Vault: 1st place – Madi Issak (CNHS) – score 9.9; 2nd place – Remington Mahlum (BHS) – score 8.8; 3rd place – Kiree Lowe (BHS) – score 8.6
Bars: 1st place – Madi Issak (CNHS) – score 9.6; 2nd place – Remington Mahlum (BHS) – score 9.2; 3rd place – Kiree Lowe (BHS) – score 8.6
Beam: 1st place – Madi Issak (CNHS) – score 9.35; 2nd place – Remington Mahlum (BHS) – score 9.1; 3rd place – Kiree Lowe (BHS) – score 9.1
Floor: 1st place – Madi Issak (CNHS) – score 9.3; 2nd place – Remington Mahlum (BHS) – score 9.3; 3rd place – Kiree Lowe (BHS) – score 9.2
All Around: 1st place – Madi Issak (CNHS) – score 38.15; 2nd place – Remington Mahlum (BHS) – score 36.4; 3rd place – Kiree Lowe (BHS) – score 35.5
Varsity B Results
Vault: 1st place – Savannah Uhlir (CEHS) – score 8.5; 2nd place – Kaprice Allen (CHS) – score 8.5; 3rd place – Avery Fong (CEHS) – score 8.2
Bars: 1st place – Skyy Vang (BHS) – score 9.0; 2nd place – Avery Fong (CEHS) – score 8.5; 3rd place – Brooke Tjerrild (CNHS) – score 8.3
Beam: 1st place – Skyy Vang (BHS) – score 9.1; 2nd place – Brooke Tjerrild (CNHS)– score 9.1; 3rd place – Avery Fong (CEHS) – score 9.0
Floor: 1st place – Avery Fong (CEHS) – score 9.1; 2nd place – Brooke Okutsu (CEHS) – score 9.0; 3rd place – Sabrina Vallez (MHS) – score 8.9
All Around: 1st place – Skyy Vang (BHS) – score 34.9; 2nd place – Avery Fong (CEHS) – score 34.8; 3rd place – Brooke Tjerrild (CNHS) – score 34.2
Varsity C Results
Vault: 1st place – Emilie Atkins (CHS) – score 8.2; 2nd place – Sarai Miranda (CHS) – score 8.1; 3rd place – Jessica Pickett (CNHS) – score 8.1
Bars: 1st place – Alyssa Coles (CHS) – score 8.0; 2nd place – Jessica Pickett (CNHS) – score 7.6; 3rd place – Sarai Miranda (CHS) – score 6.9
Beam: 1st place – Jenna Aoki (CEHS) – score 8.8; 2nd place – Alyssa Coles (CHS) – score 8.5; 3rd place – Kamryn Walkingstick (CHS) – score 8.3
Floor: 1st place – Jenna Aoki (CEHS) – score 8.7; 2nd place – Sarai Miranda (CHS) – score 8.7; 3rd place – Daphney Vang (CHS) – score 8.65
All Around: 1st place – Alyssa Coles (CHS) – score 32.5; 2nd place – Jenna Aoki (CEHS) – score 31.2; 3rd place – Sarai Miranda (CHS) – score 31.1
1st Place: Buchanan 140.45
2nd Place: Clovis North 140.15
3rd Place: Clovis East 133.95