Lake Washington’s gymnasts vaulted near the top of the state ladder last season and the Kangs are ready to plug away again this time out.
“They’re pretty determined to do well at state again this year, and they’re working hard,” said head coach Katie Perrigoue, whose squad finished second in the 1A/2A/3A state team standings with a young squad in 2019.
The Kangs notched scores of 178 and 179 in their first two league wins this season and are shooting to hit a 184 or above when all the chalk has cleared, Perrigoue said. At last year’s state competition, Holy Names Academy took first with 181.325 points and the Kangs followed with 180.275 points.
LW features a stellar group of returners, including sophomore Laly Noriega and senior Peyton Yoshida, and some solid newcomers, including junior Nicole Tribolet.
Noriega snagged second place on vault (9.425) and sixth all around (37.375) at state last year, and the hard worker is determined to shine again on all events, the coach said.
“I’m really hopeful for this season. We have a lot of talent on the team, and straight off the bat, you could see that,” Noriega said.
Yoshida, who competed well at state last season, feels the Kangs can make their mark on the gymnastics scene again this season. She noted that with last year’s state result, they have a “little bit of fire under our butts — I’d say it’s kind of pushing us to do better earlier in the season to keep that momentum going forward.”
Former club competitor Tribolet is strong all around, especially on bars where the Kangs needed a boost, Perrigoue said.
Tribolet wanted to try something new by joining the high school team and has been enjoying her time with the Kangs.
“I think the team is a big stress-reliever for me. When you come here, you can be yourself and just laugh everything off. Competitions are always fun for me. When we get together as a team and really bond, it’s great,” said Tribolet, listing the floor and beam as her favorite events.
Tribolet used to crawl around like a cat as a child, she said, and soon she was involved in gymnastics. The sport helps keep her disciplined and is a plus with time management, she added.
When she unleashes her floor routine, she shows off her personality and puts her heart into the music.
“Everything disappears around you and you’re kind of like in your zone,” said Tribolet, who laughed when noting that when moving a hand over her face during the routine it’s as if she’s catching a fly.
Noriega said that her favorite event changes all the time. If she’s nailing her beam routine, then that’s the event she puts at the top. Successful beam competitors need to possess a lot of precision to stay put on the four-inch-wide beam, she said.
“It takes a lot of focus, too, you have to calm yourself down. Obviously, you’re nervous, but you don’t wanna wobble and fall. I just have to make it look effortless like any other event,” said Noriega, who likes to challenge herself by keeping her club skills in action, such as an overshoot and double back on bars, a double full on floor and a Tsuk on vault.
Yoshida likes how her season has been going thus far and plans on working on her flips on vault and pirouette on bars for the postseason.
The Kang is thrilled about her new upbeat floor routine.
“Seeing your team on the side doing your dance with you is really nice,” said Yoshida, adding that she especially enjoys the part of the routine where the Kangs clap along with her.
It’s been 14 years since Yoshida stepped foot in the gymnastics realm and nine years since she began competing. Each event is an emotional and physical journey.
“I think it’s just that feeling when you really hit it, ‘cause it’s a lot of work in the gym and it’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work, so seeing it all come to fruition is really cool,” she said with a smile.