Olathe East senior Sam Bond took a deep breath and stared down the runway. It was her final chance at a perfect vault, in her final season of high school gymnastics.
She barreled forward, flipped onto the vault, and within a couple of seconds, had stuck the landing forcefully. With her score of 9.4, she not only won the vault competition at the Kansas state gymnastics meet, she also solidified Olathe East’s top team score of the day, 108.2.
Bond led the way for Olathe East in just about every category, finishing as all-around champion Saturday. In addition to her vault win, she finished second on the bars and the beam, and also took the top overall floor routine.
“Sam just had an incredible performance,” Olathe East head coach Mallory West said. “This is the last meet of her career, and she’s worked so hard for this, ever since she was a little girl.”
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Katie Wingate, also of Olathe East, had two top-three finishes as well — third in the vault and second in her floor routine.
Olathe East’s title was by less than one point, with Newton coming in second at 107.975. Shawnee Mission West took third place with a score of 101.3. Lawrence (100.575) and Shawnee Mission East (99.725) finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Shawnee Mission South was host of Saturday’s state meet, which also featured a reception for alumni of Kansas high school gymnastics from the last 44 seasons. With talk escalating in recent weeks in the Olathe and Shawnee Mission school districts of ending their gymnastics programs, many in the gymnastics community worried that this would be the last meet.
That made it all the more special for Olathe East.
“This means the world to us,” West said. “We gave it everything we possibly could have this season, and now we can really leave this season with no regrets.”