Gymnastics: Broomfield puts on its best efforts in winning Class 5A state team championship

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THORNTON — Broomfield gymnastics had to nail the vault, its final event on Thursday night at the Class 5A state championship meet, if the Eagles hoped to win their third state team title since 1988.

The ladies did just that, as they threw in a few new skills at the last minute to secure a 46.9 score for the event and a final score of 184.700 at Thornton High School. By a very slim margin — they beat out runner-up Lakewood by just over one point at 183.675 — the Eagles perched themselves atop the field with another trophy to cling to all the way back to BHS.

“I feel like we expected it,” freshman Kaya Duncan said. “We’ve been undefeated this whole season so far. It’s kind of a surprise still, too, because we saw the other teams here doing really good.”

In the vault, senior Brenna Calvo busted out a move that she hadn’t attempted in her entire high school career. She earned a 9.500 for her efforts for sixth place in the event, just behind teammate Duncan, who finished fifth at 9.65.

“It doesn’t even feel real yet,” Calvo said. “We were so nervous going into vault because we knew we had to pull it out. I hadn’t done a Yurchenko pike in I don’t how many years and I knew on the first vault that I could do it, so I decided to do it and I’m so happy I did. I am so unbelievably proud of my team. We worked all season for this. We worked all last season for this and I am so excited that it finally came together today.”

The suspense built up for the Eagles until the very last second when the announcer declared their victory aloud over the speakers. The team, which was sitting with every other gymnast on the floor exercise mat, burst into cheers and, in some cases, tears.

“It was all I could think about for probably the entire meet,” Calvo said. “We were so nervous. We were watching all of our scores. We were calculating it and we had no idea. We weren’t sure.”

The Eagles achieved what they couldn’t just months earlier when Overland just barely edged them out for the 5A title with a 185.325. Broomfield scored a 184.850, meaning they not only beat their own team score from Season C in the spring, but they won by an even larger margin in doing so.

They reaped the rewards of their hard work in the individual all-around competition, as Duncan placed sixth with a score of 37.425 and Calvo followed right behind at seventh and a 37.350 score. The win capped off a perfect season for the Eagles, who didn’t lose a single meet up until the very end.

“I am so proud of them. Their heart, their determination, their fight tonight was amazing. We weren’t perfect. We didn’t expect to be,” head coach Whitney Parzybok said. “We’ve had a lot of talented groups over the last few years and I think we’ve been there — we’ve had the drive and the determination — but I think they got a taste of how it felt to come in second last season and they took that and they pushed themselves.”

Broomfield wasn’t the only local team to represent the area.

Legacy junior Kassie Chapman, who competes for Mountain Range, had been working all season toward perfecting her routines in the floor and beam. She peaked at just the right time, placing ninth in the all-around with a 36.600 score and scores of 9.35 (sixth) and 9.275 (14th) on the beam and floor, respectively.

She, along with Duncan, Calvo, and Broomfield’s Sophia Pavlidis (13th all-around), Mila Thompson, Maren Irvin, Isabelle Benkowski and Sophie Griffith will return to Thornton High School on Saturday to compete for individual state glory.

“It’s pretty insane, actually,” Chapman said. “I hit my highest all-around score today, so I was hoping I would place but I wasn’t going to be too upset if I didn’t. I placed and I was equally shocked and excited.”