High school gymnastics teams spring into action

Cindy Linker
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Cindy Linker competes in last week’s season-opening meet that also included gymnasts from Los Altos and St. Francis.

A gymnastics dynasty may be forming at Los Altos High.

Coach Sarah Wallace said her Eagles have the potential to do what St. Francis did – claim consecutive Central Coast Section championships. The Lancers are the last team to accomplish this, winning their 16th title in as many years in 2015.

While Wallace wouldn’t go as far as predicting Los Altos could match that unprecedented feat – after all, the Eagles last season won their first CCS crown in 28 years – she likes her team’s chances of repeating.

“Without knowing what all the other teams have, it’s looking like Los Altos is the favorite again, based on depth,” she said. “We have even more than last year.”

That depth wasn’t on full display in last week’s season-opening meet, however, as the Eagles were missing five gymnasts still participating in club gymnastics. Host Los Altos finished fourth among the nine teams competing March 26 with a score of 115.950.

“Club runs two weeks longer this year, so we changed our schedule to accommodate that, but we still won’t have those girls back until the last few meets,” said Wallace, who has a new assistant coach in Sydney Fong.

These gymnasts include juniors Emma Tsao and Courtney Krauss – who last year placed second and sixth, respectively, at CCS in the all-around category – along with freshmen Allie Bricca, Emilie Enser and Arianna Moore. Wallace said she expects several of them to make a significant impact when they join the team later this month.

Team captains Roosa Uusitalo and Jennifer Kuramoto led Los Altos in the opening meet. Senior Uusitalo placed second all-around (36.750) and junior Kuramoto took third (36.500). Uusitalo’s total included a second-place score of 9.500 on the uneven bars; Kuramoto was the runner-up on the floor exercise with a 9.300.

Mountain View won the meet with a score of 141.150, which put the Spartans comfortably ahead of Cupertino (136.700) and St. Francis (122.900). Mountain View – also coached by Wallace – had its full complement of gymnasts, according to the coach.

Senior and team co-captain Nomi Rosen won both the vault (9.250) and uneven bars (9.550) on the way to a fourth-place finish all-around (36.450).

Sophomore Hannah Estrada placed sixth all-around (34.850) and senior Cindy Linker was 10th (27.700). Linker took fifth at CCS last year, fourth in 2017 and third in 2016, when the Spartans captured their first CCS title.

Mountain View returns all but two gymnasts from last season’s squad, which placed fifth at the CCS meet.

“I think they can be in the top three this year,” Wallace said of the Spartans. “They have veteran savvy and they’re solid across the board.”

St. Francis coach Lynn Horiye isn’t quite as optimistic about his team’s chances of contending for the CCS trophy this year. He said the Lancers are not very strong and their top gymnast, freshman Porsche Trinidad,  has been sidelined with an ankle injury.

“My next-best gymnast is another freshman, Amy Deatherage, then it’s Paige Uyehara, the basketball player,” Horiye said. “She’s very good on floor exercise and balance beam.”

Uyehara – an all-league basketball player – led St. Francis last week with an all-around score of 17.950, good enough for 22nd place. The senior tied for sixth on floor (9.100).

Sophomore Angela Honda took 23rd all-around (17.250) and junior Haley Barnett was 24th (17.200).

The Lancers finished fifth at CCS the past two seasons.

Horiye said he expects Los Altos or Mountain View to win the championship this year.

The CCS meet is scheduled 4 p.m. May 15 at Gymtowne in South San Francisco. All three local teams have four regular-season meets – plus the league finals – scheduled prior to that. Los Altos, Mountain View and St. Francis are slated to visit Cupertino 5 p.m. April 10.

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