Three-Time State Champs

Camas High gymnasts celebrate after winning the WIAA 4A state title on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Sammamish High School. It was their third state championship. (Meg Wochnick/The Columbian)

Posted: February 23, 2020

Shibata third, McGee fourth in 4A all-around

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: February 21, 2020, 11:21pm

BELLEVUE — Make room for another spot in the Camas High School trophy case.

The Papermakers made it three consecutive Class 4A state gymnastics team titles Friday night at Sammamish High School, fulfilling their long-standing goal on the season.

And by doing so, the gymnastics team become Camas’ first sport to win three consecutive titles.

Motivation is what fueled the Papermakers, Alyssa Shibata said.

“It’s wild,” the junior said. “Our whole goal going into it was a three-peat — to come out stronger and better, and I think we did. We did amazing today.”

Camas bested runner-up Woodinville, 182.450 to 178.325. Skyview placed ninth (130.325) behind top-four finishes by Shibata (third) Shea McGee (fourth) in the all-around competition.

More Papermakers advance to Saturday’s individual event finals, too. Shibata and McGee, last year’s 4A all-around champion, placed in the top 16 Friday to advance to finals on floor, beam, bars and vault. Olivia Bane and Peyton Cody also advance on bar. Skyview’s Katelyn Epperly (vault) and Riley LeCocq (floor) also advance to the finals.

Part of what Shibata described as an amazing day for Camas came, in part, by its performance on bars. That’s what Camas considers its strength, what Shibata described as the team’s “cushion event” meaning if something goes wrong in another event, “we have extra padding,” she said.

Three gymnasts — Shibata, McGee and Cody — scored 9.300 or better on bars, powered by Shibata’s 9.625.

That was the second-highest of the day behind Rylye Anderson of Puyallup, the 4A all-around champion. McGee had the day’s best score on beam (9.600).

Before three years ago, no Class 4A school from Clark County won a state title. Camas won the program’s first state title in 2018 — the area’s first Class 4A title and first since Columbia River won the 3A/2A title in 2009 — dethroning four-time reigning state champion Woodinville at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.

Then it won it again in 2019 — the first year at Sammamish High School — behind the third-highest team score in 4A meet history.

Then came Fridays feat. And after watching her team’s performance on a third title, the Papermakers can’t help but look into the future. Club gymnasts are starting to take notice of Camas’ reign of success, Shibata said, which may spark more trophies in the future. Of the 16 gymnasts on Camas’ state roster, it loses four.

“We’re strong,” Shibata said, “and I think that’s good. We have so many options and so many good people around. We’re very blessed that way.”

At 3A/2A earlier Friday, Washougal’s Shaela Ausmus placed 13th on bars (9.0) and 15th on vault (8.7). Ausmus qualified for the event finals from Thursday’s individual competition.

Skyview coach Alyssa Loomis was named coach of the year by the state’s coaches association.