THORNTON — Six and a half years can be a long wait, but it was worth it in the end. For the first time since the fall of 2014, Overland hoisted the Class 5A gymnastics state championship trophy.
For four consecutive years, the Trailblazers have come up just short and watched Pomona go home with the gold. But following championship-level performances across the roster, they weren't going to be denied a championship a sixth time.
"I have a really big collection of silver trophies," coach Lisa Sparrow said. "It's been a long time in the making and these girls have worked incredibly hard. Despite everything with COVID, they have been at the gym and they have been working since they were able to get back into the gym."
Mattea Dolan and Mabry Robinson finished as the top two overall individuals which helped them fend off Broomfield. Overland finished the night with 185.325 points while the Eagles finished second with 184.85.
The feel of the meet was slightly different as the teams went through the rotations together rather than getting mixed up with competitors from other schools. It gave the meet a unique feel and certainly some added benefits in having teammates around to provide that emotional lift.
And as the meet went on and the Trailblazers continued performing well, that lift just added to the momentum they felt early.
"With everything going on, we as a team, are very good about being cohesive," Robinson said. "We're very good at being together and working together so regardless of the meet situation, we know that we can come together as a team and be at our very best and dominate because we've done it before."
Dolan put together a great comprehensive meet and finished second in the vault with a score of 9.625. Robinson finished with the best score of the event with 9.65 points meaning both will be back at Thornton High School on Saturday to compete for championships in the individual events.
But Thursday was all about the team. The girls knew that the individual finalists would take care of themselves and the focus on competing well was to ensure a team championship was coming home. Overall, the Trailblazers had four competitors finish in the top 10. Austin Ivester finished the night with the top score on the beam at 9.575 with teammate Bailey Rodriguez right behind her at 9.525.
"That team dynamic is really important, especially tonight," Dolan said. "It's more that we don't want to do well for ourself, but we want to do well for the team so that we can fell that we did this as a team."
This is the sixth team gymnastics title for Overland, putting the school in a tie for fourth all-time with Loveland and Niwot. Of their six titles, five have been at the 5A level and all five of those have been won since 2009.