THORNTON — A perfect 10.0.
Amber Boll’s only vault in the Class 5A state gymnastics finals was so sensational, every spectator at the meet rose and cheered. The Lakewood Tiger, minted as the 5A all-around queen on Thursday, achieved something rare.
“It was truly amazing,” she said. “I was just focusing on the landing. When I saw the scores, it was disbelief. I love seeing a 10.”
To perform a vault, the gymnast sprints down a runway, hurdles onto a springboard, and leaps onto the vault with their hands. The landing is the trickiest part, to try and stick it without having the feet or rest of the body flail.
Boll’s performance checked all the boxes needed for a perfect score, securing only the second such mark at the Colorado state meet. The other 10.0 was recorded back in 1988 (Broomfield’s Carol Ulrich, floor exercise).
“That vault performance was amazing,” Lakewood coach Jamie Zeeman added. “She had a 10 (in a non-state meet) once before that. It was last year. She did everything perfect.”
The vault cemented Boll’s status as one of Colorado’s finest gymnasts, as did championships in the all-around, balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars, and vault competitions — the rare five.
“Gymnastics has been my life for a long time,” she said. “I hope it just brings awareness to how good gymnastics can be. I was excited about my floor, because it was even better than my previous meet. I tried to make everything as clean as possible.”
She certainly did that and more with tremendous marks in beam (9.600), bars (9.850), and floor (9.850). To those who had witnessed Boll’s accomplishments Thursday — a 9.900 during the vault preliminaries and an all-around point total of 39.125 — the title haul wasn’t a surprise.
But, something did catch Zeeman off-guard.
“Beam has always been her Achilles heel,” she said. “For her to win it was a huge accomplishment.”
A former Lakewood gymnast herself (2010 graduate), Zeeman is brightened by the thought of what Boll delivered to the program (first gymnastics champion of any kind) and to the sport in general.
“It’s really cool in Jeffco that gymnasts like Amber are able to showcase it, make it known, and give it the publicity that it needs,” she beamed.
Nearly half of the 4A and 5A competitors in event finals were from Jefferson County.
One such competitor was Green Mountain senior, Emily Graham, who overcame a near-season ending injury to clinch her spot as 4A’s queen. She won the all-around title with 37.025 points, just barely edging Lindsay Chohon of Niwot (37.000).
Graham (uneven bars champion in 2016) endured plenty just to get herself physically ready to perform. Unfortunately, injuries prevented her from any wins Saturday.
Nonetheless, she added to a rich tradition for Green Mountain. Teammate Lucy Meinert was the balance beam champion this year.
As for Niwot, the top 4A team, Chohon led a 1-2-3 finish in the floor exercise, posting a 9.600. Grace Stephenson and Mia Curry were second and third.
In other classification finals, Ciera Babb doubled up on victories in vault (9.500) and bars (9.400). As a sophomore, she became the first title-winner in Rampart history (balance beam).
Babb was a member of a groundbreaking team in 2016 as well, the first from the school to qualify for the state gymnastics meet.