Sehome gymnast Cat Gibbons didn’t know if she would be able to finish out her high school career in competition.
She tore her ACL halfway through the season. It was a long recovery but Gibbons, Sehome’s lone senior, made it back in time to at least compete on the bars.
Gibbons was cleared by doctors just before the district competition to participate on the bars. She ended up qualifying for state and got to end her high school career on Friday, Feb. 20, at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall for the Washington state gymnastics championships.
“She does clean routines,” said Doriane Gunnels, who coaches all three Bellingham schools. “She’s an amazing athlete. She just a heart and passion for gymnastics.
While the Mat Classic was going on next door, hundreds of parents, gymnasts and fans piled into the Exhibition Hall to watch the best gymnasts in the state compete. It was a great ending to Gibbons’ career.
“That’s a great honor to, as a senior, be able to do that,” Gunnels said. “For her, it’s great be able to get back and pull it all together.”
No gymnast from the three Bellingham schools qualified for the next day but Gunnels is excited for where the program is headed.
Sehome qualified Gibbons, Erin Eiswald, Cat Fitzpatrick and Shea Walker; Bellingham had Sage Stevenson, Rachel Cornwall, Olonna Iff and Maddie Domico; and Squalicum put Sienna Takabe into state.
“There’s a really high level of competition when you get to state,” Gunnels said. “Each one of the girls did their best and it showed.”
Next year, all the gymnasts return minus Gibbons and improvement is bound to happen for the Bellingham schools.
Whatcom County gymnastics may also get a new face next season, as talks about a team starting in Ferndale have started, Gunnels said.
“I see it growing. I’m excited to see we have some interest north in Ferndale and a team possibly starting up there,” Gunnels said. “That would be great to expand the program, not necessarily our program, but Whatcom County gymnastics.”