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Originally published February 21, 2014 at 10:50 PM | Page modified February 21, 2014 at 10:52 PM

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Woodinville rolls to fifth state title in eight years | 4A gymnastics

Newport finishes second as senior Candace Ho qualifies to participate in all four events in Saturday’s individual finals.

Special to The Seattle Times

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TACOMA — Too deep, too agile, too much.

Led by sophomore all-around champion Marisa Savage, the Woodinville gymnastics team cruised to the state 4A title Friday night, towering over a four-team field with a score of 180.475 at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.

The title gives Woodinville five state crowns in eight years. The Falcons won four state 4A championships from 2007 to 2010.

“It feels really good,” said Woodinville coach Kim Smothermon, ending her long tenure as the Falcons coach with one more championship. “I’m happy to be finishing with such a strong team.”

Woodinville will likely be the early 4A favorite next season. Its top two scorers are juniors, and both placed among the top eight all-around finishers.

Savage, a former level-8 gymnast making her high-school debut this season, topped the field Friday with a score of 37.95, and Emily Paratore finished seventh (36.2).

Savage was delighted with her first state experience. Her biggest satisfaction? “Seeing all the hard work pay off,” she said. “The last few years Woodinville has come to state and lost by just a little bit. To finally pull a state title off is just fantastic.”

Coming in behind Woodinville were Newport (172.975), Mead (172.2) and Puyallup (170.95).

Following Savage in the all-around was Mead junior Jenna Schlosser (37.525) and Newport senior Candace Ho (37.175). Ho, who qualified to participate in all four events in Saturday’s individual finals (11 a.m.), finishes her career with four straight top-four all-around finishes.

Jenna Hayes of Eastlake took fourth in all-around with a score of 37.0, followed by Kate Jacobsen of Puyallup (36.925), Nicole Moss of Heritage (36.425), Paratore and Jamie Nolta of Union.

Hayes posted the night’s top score with a 9.675 on vault. Savage had high score on bars (9.525), Ho on beam (9.525) and Jacobsen on floor (9.5).

The meet was delayed nearly 20 minutes when Kentlake’s Ashley Pernell injured her left leg during her second vault. Pernell, an individual qualifier, was wheeled out with ice on her left knee.

Her first vault earned her a score of 9.45, the sixth-highest vault score of the night. She also placed seventh on beam (9.125) and tied for fifth on floor (9.4) before the injury ended her night.

What makes Woodinville so tough to beat? Smothermon points to strong skills throughout the team on floor. Savage and Alli McManus each posted 9.45, the night’s second-highest score in the event.

“But probably their strongest characteristic, though, is that they’re able to pick a person up if they’re feeling down,” she said. “We as coaches don’t have to go talk to them.”

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