THORNTON - Pomona High School was in Kelsey Boychuk’s blood from the time she was born.
Her mother, Tracey Boychuk, has been involved with Pomona gymnastics as either the head coach or an assistant, except for a few years off to stay at home with the kids, since 1994.
“Kelsey has been in Pomona High School since she was a baby, because I was always there,” Tracey, the Panthers’ current head coach said. “Competing for Pomona was always something she said she wanted to do. We were fortunate that her club coaches agreed to it, because she really enjoys it.”
After being crowned as the 5A all-around champion back-to-back years as a sophomore, not to mention winning her second consecutive titles in the vault (9.800) and the balance beam (9.800), and being at the forefront of Pomona’s first-ever state championship in any girls sport this weekend at Thornton High School, the 15-year-old is off to a spectacular high school career.
But for many gifted gymnasts, competing outside of club never becomes a reality. For Kelsey, being a Panther was always going to be in the cards.
“I knew a lot of girls on the team,” Kelsey added. “For the experience, it’s fun.”
And for the already decorated gymnast, suiting up for Pomona just felt like home, and not just because her mom is the head coach.
“She got started when she was 18 months old and her first coach is one of my assistant coaches, Kristen Larrington,” the elder Boychuk said. “She did rec gymnastics for awhile and got into club about five years ago. She has just excelled at it.”
Tracey Boychuk, a former gymnast at Arvada High School and for the University of Northern Colorado, said her daughter has some similarities to the only other Pomona all-around champion, Natalie Gillan from 2001 and 2002.
“Kelsey actually reminds me a lot of Natalie with her focus,” Tracey said. “She goes out there and has fun and doesn’t really worry about what anybody else is doing. They are both even keeled and I think it’s served them both well.”
Nonetheless, she never expected this type of success from Kelsey, especially this early.
“Last year was a huge surprise,” the coach admitted. “Obviously I knew she was a talented gymnast, but this is more than I ever could’ve imagined.”
Asked if she’s thought about the possibility of becoming the only four-time all-around gymnastics champion in Colorado history after starting her career two-for-two, Kelsey said, “It’s something that I look forward to trying to do.”
While the Pomona sophomore stole the spotlight again this year, her teammate, Alyssa Minyard, a senior, won the uneven bars with a score of 9.700 for her first title. Another teammate, Brooke Weins, was the runner-up. Weins, then Minyard, were also second and third behind Boychuk in the vault, backing up Pomona’s record breaking Friday in which the Panthers set the all-classification best by becoming the first team to score over 190 points with 190.925.
Autumn Bottke of Rocky Mountain won her first individual crown in the floor exercise with a 9.825. Minyard was second (9.775).
In Class 4A, the Niwot Cougars, after winning their first team title since 2001 on Friday, saw winning performances out of senior Ila Katechis in the vault (9.450) and the balance beam (9.600). Marissa Koski, a junior, won the uneven bars (9.325) after finishing as the runner-up in the event in 2014. Both ladies became individual state champions for the first time, as well.
Elizabeth’s Lexye Wood, the all-around runner-up to Standley Lake's Rachel Cody on Friday, won the floor exercise (9.450). She was also a first-timer as far as individual titles go.