Kangs tumble to state gymnastics title

Lake Washington’s score of 185.725 is the second-highest all-time mark at the state meet.

The Lake Washington gymnastics team didn’t just win the 1A/2A/3A team competition on Feb. 20, the Kangs’ team score of 185.725 was the second-highest recorded score in the history of the state gymnastics meet.

The Kangs finished almost five points ahead of second-place Sammamish (180.950). Lake Washington sophomore Laly Noriega said going into the team competition, the Kangs expected to win.

“I’m really proud of the team because it’s our first 185 of the season, our goal was a 184,” Noriega said. “I think we did really well.”

Noriega won the all-around competition with a 38.275 (9.300 on vault, 9.575 on bars, 9.775 on beam and 9.625 on floor). Noriega said she was surprised to win the all-around competition.

“I really didn’t think I was going to win,” Noriega said. “I got sixth last year in all-around, so I didn’t really have expectations for that. It was very much a surprise for me.”

The Kangs opened the all-around competition on floor, with Nicole Tribolet (9.725) and Peyton Yoshida (9.700) performing dazzling routines. Tribolet said performing her routine at state can be intimidating, but once the music for her floor routine came on, it was business as usual for the junior.

“Going into it, I was kind of nervous, but once I heard the music, I kind of went into my own zone,” Tribolet said. “Once I saw my score, I knew that all my hard work paid off and I get to compete tomorrow (at event finals).”

After vault and bars, the Kangs closed out the competition on beam. Noriega performed a stunning beam routine, scoring a 9.775, the highest beam score of the night.

“I had a pretty good warm up, so I was pretty confident,” Noriega said about her beam routine. “Last meet I had a fall, so I really wanted a stick.”

While winning an individual event is fun, Tribolet said the feeling of helping out your team and winning with your teammates is huge.

“It’s a really thrilling moment when you realize you won and all the hard work you put into it pays off,” Tribolet said.

The Kangs had another strong showing in the event finals on Feb. 21, with two gymnasts winning individual events. On beam, Noriega finished first (9.575), with teammate Courteney Hori tied for second (9.525). On floor, the Kangs swept the top three places, with Yoshida in first (9.700), Tribolet in second (9.675) and Noriega in third (9.650).