Conquering fear

Papermakers are looking strong after defeating Columbia River and Union

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After breaking her left femur last season, Ashley Gjerswold (left) thought she would never have the courage to vault again. On Saturday, the Camas High School senior got back on the runway with the encouragement of her teammates and overcame her fear.

Ashley Gjserwold stepped on to the runway and faced her fear.

It has been a long year of rehab since the Camas High School senior gymnast broke her left femur on the vault during the league jamboree, on Dec. 5, 2009. Since that painful day, Gjserwold never wanted to compete in the vault again. On Saturday, the Camas gymnastics family she loves being a part of gave her the courage to get back on the runway.

“I remember my coach throwing me over during the warm up, and the second time making it all the way over by myself,” Gjserwold said. “Oh my goodness, I did it! I never forget how I felt. I overcame my fear.”

The Papermakers showed plenty of determination Saturday, at the Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy in Camas, and defeated longtime nemesis Columbia River by the score of 158.4 to 152.5. On Dec. 11, the Papermakers beat the Union Titans 147.7 to 147.5.

As thrilling as it is to beat both rivals, these victories mean little if Camas does not finish in first or second place at the district meet Feb. 4, at Prairie High School. It is the only way the Papermakers can qualify for state as a whole.

“Beating River shows we can be one or two, maybe even one,” said senior Amanda Bolton.

Audrey Siebenthaler racked up 33.4 points for Camas to finish first in the all-around competition. She captured second on the beam (9.0), second on the floor (9.2), second on the vault (8.5) and third on the bars (6.7).

“I had a lot of fun competing today. I went out there focused, and ready to do my best,” Siebenthaler said. “I love being a part of Camas gymnastics. We’re more like a family than a team. I wouldn’t want to do high school gymnastics anywhere else.”

Bolton earned first on the bars (7.0), and took third all-around (31.1). She also finished fourth on the vault (8.2), sixth on the floor (8.2), and seventh on the beam (7.7).

“Winning bars was awesome. It felt like a super good routine,” Bolton said. “I surprised myself a lot tonight, and I’m excited to see what I can do at districts.”

Grace Giorano grabbed fifth all-around (30.1). She earned second on bars (6.8), sixth on vault (8.0), seventh on floor (8.1), and ninth on beam (7.2). Hayden Sutton snatched sixth all-around (29.85). She finished sixth on beam (8.2), seventh on bars (6.0), eighth on floor (7.85), and eighth on vault (7.8).

The Camas gymnastics family has never been prouder of Gjserwold for vaulting over her fear.

“For her to just go out and do it shows how amazing a gymnast she is,” Siebenthaler said. “That takes a lot of confidence.”

“It was a great night for us, but what I’ll remember most is [Gjserwold] vaulting,” Bolton said. “She represents our team. The girls look up to her a lot.”