Eagles repeat last year's feat

Courtesy of Sarah Wallace
The Los Altos High gymnastics team commemorates its CCS championship after last week’s meet. Front, from left: Coaches Sarah Wallace and Sydney Fong. Middle: Emilie Enser, Emma Tsao and Courtney Krauss. Back: Noor Tadros, Makeda Yezala, Kylie Molina, Allison Bricca, Roosa Uusitalo and Alexa Hamlin.

When the gymnastics season started, coach Sarah Wallace was confident her Los Altos High team had what it took to repeat as Central Coast Section champion. Last week, the Eagles proved her right.

Los Altos earned a score of 148.750 May 15 at Gymtowne Gymnastics in South San Francisco, where Homestead (146.900) was the runner-up for the second straight year. Mountain View placed third (143.350) and St. Francis finished fourth (142.900) in the six-team meet.

The Eagles’ depth – which Wallace said was even greater than last year – is what prompted the coach to deem them the favorite, and that facet stood out last week. Five Los Altos gymnasts placed among the top 20 all-around: Courtney Krauss (second, 37.800), Emma Tsao (fourth, 37.450), Allison Bricca (sixth, 37.200), Roosa Uusitalo (15th, 36.050) and Emilie Enser (17th, 35.400).

“All five are strong, and they were pretty consistent,” Wallace said. “Everyone contributed.”

Top contributor Krauss, a close second to all-around champion Ananya Verma (37.950) of Homestead, wasn’t so sure the Eagles could win back-to-back team titles.

“I didn’t expect to win, but I was hoping,” Krauss said. “I’m glad we did it.”

Krauss’ highest score came on the uneven bars – a 9.700 for third place – but she cherished her floor exercise performance more.

“It was the last time doing that particular routine; it’s been two years, and it’s time for a new one,” said the junior, who finished seventh in the event with a 9.500. “Floor is my favorite because you get to show a little bit of your personality out there.”

Tsao, also a junior, placed fourth on floor (9.650) and secured second on vault (9.600). Bricca won the balance beam (9.550) and fellow freshman Enser took third (9.350). CCS marked only the third meet of the year for Bricca and Enser, who joined the team late due to their extended club season.

“Our two freshmen did really well,” Krauss said. “Their clean technique helped get us a few tenths (of a point).”

Uusitalo, the lone senior in the Eagles’ lineup, put up her best score on floor (9.400 for 10th) and placed highest on beam (eighth with a 9.150).

“Roosa should be proud of how she did her senior year,” Wallace said of the four-year varsity member.

Friendly rival Mountain View featured two seniors, Cindy Linker and Nomi Rosen, members of the 2016 squad that won CCS. Rosen, whose Spartans trained with the Eagles all season under Wallace, went into last week’s meet with realistic expectations.

“We knew beating Los Altos was a lost cause,” she said. “But we made the podium and beat St. Francis, so we’re happy about that.”

Wallace said Mountain View and St. Francis “were neck and neck” entering the last event, which was beam for the Spartans. Linker placed fifth on beam (9.2000), junior Emma Paradise finished 13th (9.000) and Rosen was 21st (8.750).

“The beam and floor – that’s where they got the edge (over St. Francis),” Wallace said of Mountain View.

Linker won floor (9.800), Paradise came in 17th (9.200) and Rosen was 19th (9.050).

Linker posted the Spartans’ best all-around score (36.700 for 10th), followed by Paradise (36.350 for 14th) and Rosen (35.800 for 16th). Senior Melissa Pinkner (33.950) and junior Madison Cassell (32.500) placed 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

“It was a little nerve-wracking at the end, but it was fun,” Rosen said of the meet. “CCS is always fun.”

Porsche Trinidad led St. Francis by placing fifth all-around (37.300). The freshman won the vault (9.750) and tied for fifth on floor (9.600). Teammate Amy Deatherage tied for 12th all-around (36.350).

Pinewood’s lone representative at CCS, Lucia Diffenbaugh, claimed eighth all-around (36.900). She finished fourth on bars (9.550).

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