Chugiak to host CIC gymnastics meet

Dimond’s faulty bleachers reason for move


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Chugiak High senior Alyssa McGill performs on the balance beam during a tri meet with South Anchorage and Dimond on Friday, Oct. 21. The final regular season meet was Chugiak’s senior night.

STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER

Dimond High’s malfunction is Chugiak’s gain.

Thanks to faulty bleachers in the Lynx home gym, Chugiak will host this year’s Cook Inlet Conference gymnastics meet for the first time in school history Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28-29. Competition begins at 5 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Glenn Blake, Anchorage School District coordinating principal for gymnastics, confirmed Sept. 9 that Dimond’s bleachers could not open up fully, and that the venue was switched to Chugiak High.

The team was ecstatic after hearing the news, senior Allison Thomas said.

“I was really excited to have regions here,” she said. “We’re all excited to be hosting this meet.”

It will stand out among her four CIC meets, senior Alex Collins said.

“It’s just not the same to go to another school,” she said.

Chugiak’s eighth-year head coach Wendy Wiltfong said she’s been petitioning to move the meet from the South Anchorage area for years.

“It seems like it’s been a south side meet,” she said. “I’ve always proposed at every coaches meeting it should fluctuate.”

After Chugiak’s turn, another school should host the CIC meet next season, Wiltfong said.

“We should keep the ball rolling. Move it again next year,” she said.

Thomas and Collins said hosting the meet gives Chugiak a slight advantage.

“It’s the equipment we’re used to competing on,” Thomas said.

The Mustangs will gain the biggest edge in the floor exercise, Collins said, due to the gym’s familiar environment.

“It’s easier not to get disoriented,” she said.

Competing at home will help calm the team’s high tensions, Thomas said.

“You’re used to your surroundings,” she said.

One area where all teams are on a level playing field is attempting to tune out a packed house of cheering spectators.

“Just having more people, it’s more nerve-racking no matter where you are,” Thomas said.

Blocking out the crowd noise is essential for success, Collins said. “You just have to find your zone,” she said. “You have to ignore it.”

South Anchorage is the favorite, Thomas said, but second place will be a three-way fight between Chugiak, Dimond and Service.

The smallest mistake will have huge implications on the final standings, Wiltfong said.

“It will come down to a flexed foot. That’s how close it’s gonna be,” she said.

Chugiak can improve its team score by turning in solid performances on the balance beam, Thomas said.

“We need to clean up the falls on beam,” she said.

Collins echoed her teammate’s words, saying all facets of each routine need to be technically sound, most importantly, the balance beam.

“That’s gonna be the deciding factor,” she said. “At least one of the main ones.”

Collins and Thomas — both four-year seniors — said experience is key for performing well at large meets.

“It helps a lot,” Thomas said. “You know what to expect.”

The week of practice prior to the CIC meet will focus on cleaning up routines, Thomas said.

“Make what you have perfect,” she said.

Wiltfong said the gym will have an all-business attitude this week.

“It’s gonna be pretty intense,” she said.

Wiltfong said her team’s health was at 80 percent prior to its Oct. 21 tri meet with South and Dimond and she’s hoping to be as close to 100 percent by Friday. Wiltfong said she always wants her team peaking by the final meet.

“Our goal is to beat 200 (points),” she said. “It’s attainable if they’re all on.”

Wiltfong said the message to her team prior to the CIC meet will be simple: Seize the moment.

“You got to take advantage of it and don’t look back,” she said.

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

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