Chugiak takes second at CIC gymnastics meet

Collins leads with sixth-place all-around finish


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Chugiak's Maddie Smith performs on the bars during the Cook Inlet Conference gymnastics meet at Chugiak High on Oct. 29. Smith took 12th overall for the second-place Mustangs.

Star photo by Matt Tunseth

When Chugiak’s Alex Collins landed awkwardly on a dismount from the uneven parallel bars in practice three days prior to the Cook Inlet Conference gymnastics meet, her coached fear the worst.

“We didn’t think she would be able to compete,” said Mustangs head coach Wendy Wiltfong.

Collins was just fine.

The four-year senior captain scored better than an 8.0 in each event to lead her team to a second-place finish and season-high 209.35 points Oct. 29 at Chugiak High.

“She did amazing,” Wiltfong said.

Wiltfong said Chugiak’s team score was the highest total of any Mustangs squad in her eight years as head coach.

Collins said her knee locked coming off her dismount at practice, which led to an awkward landing. Collins said she kept her practices light following the incident.

Collins, who wore a knee brace during the meet, said missing the biggest competition of the season never entered her mind.

“It didn’t hurt too bad,” she said. “I figured I was gonna be fine.”

Collins said her sixth-place all-around finish was her goal heading into her final CIC meet.

“I was actually hoping top six, so that’s really exciting,” she said.

Heavy favorite South Anchorage won the meet on the back of three first-place performances (vault, beam, floor) by Kallie Randolph, who was the top all-around gymnast.

Everyone on the team upped their performance in the season’s final meet, Collins said, which enabled Chugiak to achieve Wiltfong’s goal of breaking 200 points.

“Everybody just came out and brought their A game,” Collins said. “There were a lot of really great performances that shocked the gymnasts themselves.”

Chugiak’s hard work keyed its performance, senior Alyssa McGill said.

“We’ve really been fine-tuning,” she said. “We prepared everyone mentally.”

The team’s supportive attitude was another major factor, McGill said.

“We just make everything happy,” she said.

Hosting the CIC meet for the first time in school history was an advantage to Chugiak, McGill said.

“It was the atmosphere. It was so much better,” she said. “It was nice to have our own equipment.”

Chugiak will lose six seniors — McGill, Collins, Allison Thomas, Hannah Rockwell, Jessica Lambert and team manager Savanah Wiltfong.

The loss will be a major blow to Chugiak, McGill said, but it’s nothing the Mustangs can’t handle.

“It will be tough on the team, but I think they’ll pull through,” she said.

Chugiak’s future success will depend on the strength of next year’s incoming freshmen, Collins said.

Like McGill, Collins isn’t worried.

“They can build it up,” she said.

Collins said she had mixed feelings about competing in a Chugiak leotard for the final time. While she’s ready to move on, Collins said she’ll miss her teammates.

“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “It’s weird to think about.”

McGill said it was upsetting that her four years as a Chugiak gymnast are now over.

“It’s sad. I’m gonna miss it,” she said. “Gymnastics is my love.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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