4A Gymnastics: Elizabeth claims third state title in four years

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

THORNTON — Elizabeth just knew that there was so little margin for error this year. That was evident as The Cardinals found themselves in an extremely close battle with both Palmer Ridge and Niwot for the Class 4A state gymnastics championship.

But the team put together a clean competition and at nights end, won its third state championship in the last four years. The Cardinals finished with 177.550 points to stay just ahead of Palmer Ridge who finished with 173.175

"We knew after the first event that we were behind," Bethany Breikss said. "We had to pull it back together."

The girls got refocused and put together a championship worthy effort. Breikss came away with the top performance in the vault, scoring a 9.5 with her teammate Sydney Kissinger right behind her at 9.1.

Each of them grabbed another top-three finish as Breikss scored a 9.1 on the balance beam and Kissinger score 9.575 on the floor.

Overall, the Cardinals have five competitors coming back for Saturday's individual finals as Megan and Madison Montoya and Samantha Davison also placed in the top 12 of preliminary events.

It was a true team performance that resulted in a team championship.

"We went through it all as a family," Kissinger said. "It brought us closer together and it brought home the victory."

It was a victory that was initially tough to judge. The dynamic of the meet changed because of COVID-19 protocols, but the girls were both grateful for the chance to compete and willing to do what was needed to claim a third title in four years, even battling through several other teams that were every bit as hungry.

"I think everybody put in a ton of work," Elizabeth coach Stacey Folmar said. "Nobody outworked anyone else, but I just can't even talk about (my team's) work ethic, their consistency, their commitment to the sport and their commitment to each other."

At one point in the meet, it was actually Niwot holding a slim lead, sitting five-one hundredths of a point ahead of the Cardinals in the standings. And that's when Elizabeth took on the vault.

Both Breikss and Kissinger had solid first attempts which set the tone for the team. And the results worked themselves out.

This is the sixth overall team title for Elizabeth and the school is now tied with Niwot and Loveland for the fourth most in state history. It's a great accolade to boast about, but they didn't care about it being the sixth title, they just wanted the next one.

And even after claiming state last year and performing well in their minds, they were still somewhat stunned to the hear the announcement that they were champions once again.

"I was kind of speechless, quite honestly," Kissinger said. "I couldn't believe it happened, but I knew we could do it."