ARVADA — Kaylie Berens is the latest line of individual all-around state champions to come from Pomona’s gymnastics program.
Berens, a junior at Wheat Ridge High School, became the fourth-straight Pomona gymnast to win the Class 5A all-around title last fall. Kelsey Boychuk, who begins her college career at Iowa State University this fall, won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015. Brooke Weins, who returns for her senior year at Pomona, claimed the title in 2016.
“I prepared myself all year for it (state),” Berens said of keeping Pomona’s dominance going in the all-around. “You work so hard that you have to expect it for yourself. You can’t just be lucky on one day. You have to get better each day and hopefully get better then the day before.”
With Berens, Weins and junior Kalise Newson (fourth in the all-around last year) all back for the Panthers, the all-around title has a good chance of returning to Pomona during the state meet come early November.
The 5A state team title has also found a home at Pomona. The Panthers are going for a fourth straight team trophy this fall.
“If it is possible, right now we are deeper than we were the first time (winning state) when we set the scoring record,” Pomona coach Tracey Boychuk said. “But then again, that takes everyone staying healthy and focused.”
Pomona racked up 190.925 points when it claimed the 5A team title in 2015 to set a new all-time state scoring record.
“I feel very fortunate — great kids, good families and dedicated girls,” Boychuk said of the gymnastics dynasty at Pomona. “We you’ve got girls from three or four different schools who make the effort to get here and do what they want to do tells me that they want to be here. I’m really proud of what they do.”
Weins and Katie Olson head a strong class of eight seniors that are focused on keeping the state team title at Pomona. Injuries limited Weins to competing in only the uneven bars last year at state. She ended up winning the 5A uneven bars individual title.
“I am healthy this year,” said Weins, who added she will wear a knee brace this season. “I was glad that I was still able to contribute to the team last year.”
Weins has been through a lot with the University of Missouri withdrawing its scholarship offer due to her injuries, but the University of Oklahoma has offered her a three-year scholarship and the University of Illinois has put a four-year offer on the table.
“She (Weins) has come through all that a stronger, more motivated and a different kid,” Boychuk said. “I would love to see her go out on top again.”
Boychuk said that if Weins can win any individual title this year she would become the first Pomona gymnast to win an individual state crown all four years of her prep career.
Despite the individual accolades, Weins is focused on getting that fourth team title.
“It would be nice to win that team title again. We are a very united team,” Weins said. “I just want to be able to contribute to the team and show the freshmen who Pomona is and what we can accomplish.”
Berens credits her success to the culture that has been established at Pomona. The Panthers’ success has grown the program to 33 gymnasts.
“Having Brooke and Kelsey as older and as role models for it helps me know that I can help other girls,” Berens said. “They pushed me to be better and set the bar. I feel like I need to keep it up.”