Gibbons' run to state rooted in hard work, talent

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 20, 2014 

Sehome's Catalina Gibbons performs on the vault as Bellingham, Sehome and Squalicum competed in the Washington Open Winter Invitational Gymnastics Meet at Sehome High on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 in Bellingham.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

In her first year as a high school gymnast, Sehome's Catalina Gibbons has established herself as a top-tier talent.

Gibbons qualified in two events for the 2014 Gymnastics State Championship, held Friday-Saturday, Feb. 21-22, at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall in Tacoma. She originally was thought to have qualified for three (balance beam, bars and floor routine), but a qualifying mix-up at districts knocked her out of the floor routine at state.

Despite the minor setback in one area of Gibbons' gymnastics career, she has the talent and ability to make some waves in the balance beam and bars, gymnastics coach Doriane Gunnels said in a phone interview.

"She is a gymnast that has attention to detail and precision," Gunnels said. "When it comes to a skill, she strives to do the best and be the best at that skill."

Gunnels described Gibbons as an athletic gymnast with talent, but also noted that Gibbons is one of the hardest workers on her team.

"She's the gymnast that is on time and is always ready to go in the gym," Gunnels said. "When she's at the gym, it isn't about talking and socializing; she has great work ethic."

Gunnels said Gibbons had experience in gymnastics before joining the team for Sehome, and that base of gymnastics skill has paid dividends for Gibbons this season, as she is regularly a top performer.

In the bars, Gibbons excels in keeping her motions fluid and makes her performance seem effortless, Gunnels said. She uses her strength in her routine to swing naturally on the bars.

On the beam, Gunnels points to Gibbons' athleticism as a big reason for her success.

"She makes it look easy, even though as a former gymnast and a coach I know it isn't," Gunnels said. "She has a strong core that allows her to keep her balance. She doesn't wobble."

For state, Gunnels asked the girls on her team to come up with some personal goals. Gibbons is focused on not having any stops in her routine on the bars and getting full execution on her moves without wobbling.

"I think she is very happy with where she is at and now is just trying to perfect it," Gunnels said. "I think districts were a really good example for her of the skill that is out there."

Gunnels has been very happy with the improvements she has seen in Gibbons this season as she comes back to the sport after taking a break from club gymnastics.

"I'm not sure if she had specific goals, but meet-wise she wanted to feel it out and enjoy the sport she grew up loving," Gunnels said. "I hope I get her next year because I have a lot of big plans for her."

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