Papermakers stick it

Gymnasts earn third straight district title

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A Camas freshman, sophomore, junior and a senior finished in the top six of the all-around competition to help the Papermakers clinch their third straight district gymnastics championship.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these girls,” said head coach Carol Willson. “We are going to continue this trend. I really feel it.”

Sophomore Jacqueline Purwins won the all-around crown with 35.25 points. She finished first on the beam (9.375) and bars (8.8), and third on the vault (8.425).

Junior Emily Karkanen earned third all-around with 34.425 points. She took third on the floor (9.475), as well as fourth on the vault (8.4), beam (8.35) and bars (8.3). Karkanen was also named a first-team all-around gymnast in the 4A Greater St. Helens League.

“I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates and coaches,” she said. “This was our highest team score. It’s nice getting it at districts. That’s when it counts the most.”

Senior Caleigh Lofstead claimed fourth all-around with 34.1 points. She won the vault (8.7), placed third on the bars (8.35) and eighth on the floor (9.15). Lofstead also took home the title of 4A GSHL Gymnast of the Year.

“For my senior year and my last district meet, it’s pretty cool to have that honor,” she said. “It’s amazing to think back to my freshman year when we didn’t win districts to winning it every year since. It’s great to see all our hard work pay off. We all wanted this.”

Freshman Madison Martin secured sixth all-around with 33 points. She rose to second place on the beam (8.8) and seventh place on the bars (7.7).

“That’s a good score on beam,” Martin said. “I was really nervous, but my teammates helped me stay calm. It’s exciting being a part of Camas.”

Freshman Joy Marsh snagged seventh place on the vault (8.05) and freshman Michaela Lasher notched ninth place on the beam (7.85).

Camas racked up a season high 167.925 points to surpass Union by a 6.05-point margin. Saturday’s regional competition at Skyline High School, in Samammish, will be tougher. Only the top two teams will qualify for the state meet at the Tacoma Dome. The rest will have to vie in through their individual events.

“We’re getting close,” Willson said. “If they’re on, we could take the whole team to state for the first time.”

Karkanen said the Papermakers will be motivated to work harder in practice this week to try and make program history Saturday.

“I just hope for all of us to hit our skills on each event so we can all go to state, and if not, know that we gave it our all,” Karkanen said. “Hopefully, we got one more left in us. We will strive to get our highest score at region.”