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THORNTON — Green Mountain senior Ramya Sinha sang the national anthem and then played spoiler on the final day of the 3-day state gymnastics meet at Thornton High School.
“I really was (nervous),” Sinha said of singing the anthem Nov. 4. “Once I got that over with I was like, now I can focus on my gymnastics. It was such an honor to sing here.”
What Sinha’s focus did was prevent Elizabeth junior Anastasia Buzalsky from sweeping the all-around — which Buzalsky won the Friday night — and all four Class 4A event finals held Saturday. Sinha took the vault title with a score of 9.625 to beat Buzalsky’s score of 9.600. Buzalsky won the 4A uneven bars, beam and floor titles.
Sinha was a member of the Rams’ 4A state championship team last year. Elizabeth took the team title Friday to prevent a repeat by Green Mountain, who played third.
“It was definitely bittersweet,” Sinha said while adding she likely won’t compete at the college level. “I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was like 1-year-old. I had a blast. I stayed positive and have fun no matter what. I’m excited about the future, but sad it’s over. (Gymnastics) was a big part of my life.”
Another senior wrapping up her prep gymnastics career with an individual title was Arvada West’s Shaye Mathais. She was able to stake claim to the 5A beam title with a score of 9.800.
“I was really nervous about beam because it’s my best event,” said Mathais, who was the last competitor on the beam. “I really wanted to win that. It’s my thing.”
Lakewood junior Amber Boll was up to the challenge in the vault. After Cherry Creek’s Ana George posted a 9.950, Boll followed that up matching the score and then taking the title in a tiebreaker.
“I was nervous,” Boll said of following George’s 9.95 score on the vault. “I just had to get my head in the game. I know how to do the skill. It was really exciting.”
Boll wasn’t able to defend her event title in the uneven bars, but she wasn’t too upset.
“It was a little sad I lost the title,” Boll said of losing out to Pomona junior Brooke Weins in an attempt to repeat. “I am so glad that my friend (Brooke) was able to win that title.”
Weins was last year’s 5A all-round state champion, but ankle and knee injuries limited the junior to compete just in the uneven bars at state.
“That was very special,” Pomona coach Tracey Boychuk said of Weins winning the uneven bars title. “It’s been hard on her not being able to compete.”
Pomona grabbed its third straight 5A team title Thursday and Wheat Ridge sophomore Kaylie Berens, who competes for Pomona, became the fourth straight Panther to win the 5A all-around title.
Kelsey Boychuk (Tracey’s daughter) won back-to-back all-around titles in 2014 and 2015. Weins claimed the title last year. Berens kept the tradition going in 2017.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Coach Boychuk said of the Panthers having three all-around state champions on this year’s team. “They are pretty impressive young women.”
It was part dance party and part gymnastics meet for Berens on Saturday. The sophomore was having fun dancing to music being played for floor routines while she waited for her events. Berens said she was pretty relaxed and her main goal to have fun as the gymnastics season came to a close.
She did reflect on continuing the tradition of Pomona winning not only the team title, but the individual all-around title.
“I look up to Kelsey and Brooke so much,” Berens said. “I want to follow after them. It’s been pretty amazing.”
Kelsey Boychuk, who will continue her career at Iowa State University next fall, wasn’t able to grab an event title in her final prep competition. However, that wasn’t the focus for the Pomona senior.
“It’s kind of a weird book-ended story for her,” Coach Boychuk said of her daughter. “Her (freshman) year she got the all-around title, but we didn’t get the team title. Now she doesn’t get the all-around or an individual title, but we get the team title. I think that means more to her than anything right now. Her main goal was the team this year.”
Jeffco schools came away with titles in 4 of 8 event finals Saturday.
“It’s a big testament to Jeffco gymnastics and the support we get from athletic directors and school, across the board,” Coach Boychuk said. “We really don’t want to see this sport die, that’s evident.”
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