The Lake Braddock gymnastics team returned to the Virginia AAA championships last weekend in a big way.
The Bruins, the most dominant team in Virginia in the 1990s, reached the state meet for the first time since 2000 and took second place in Friday's team competition with a season-high score of 147.975. In Saturday's individual competition, Lake Braddock had five top-20 finishes, the most of any team in the Northern Region.
"Definitely the focus of this season was a team effort," Lake Braddock Coach Ellen Hagan-Bowerman said. "All six of my girls had different talents and when they combined, it worked well. . . . We went into this year not expecting anything and ended up with tons."
Sophomore Sara Kubik led the Bruins on both days of the championships at Stafford High School. On Friday, she had a team-best four-event score of 37.45. The next day, she scored a 9.6 in both events she entered, finishing tied for eighth in bars and ninth in vault; she took seventh in vault last year despite a lower score.
"I thought the competition this year was a lot harder than last year," Kubik said. "My favorite part of gymnastics is competing, so I had a lot of fun."
Lake Braddock also got a solid performance from junior Kimberly Luckett, who had a four-event score of 37.35 on Friday and finished tied for 16th in floor (9.375) and tied for 17th in beam (9.075) on Saturday.
Among Fairfax gymnasts, the most impressive individual performances over the weekend belonged to Herndon junior Kate McCoy and Robinson senior Kaitlin Hoey. McCoy took first place in the vault with a meet-high score of 9.925, after landing a difficult front handspring, front flip.
Hoey ended her high school career by finishing a career-best seventh in the all-around with a 37.625, highlighted by a tie for third place in beam (9.7). She is hoping to compete for James Madison, George Washington or William & Mary next year.
"It was a total surprise for me on beam," said Hoey, who is known more for her vaulting prowess.
Hoey, who was recently named outstanding senior gymnast by the Northern Virginia Gymnastics Officials Association, could have scored higher had she been able to stick her bars routine.
Throughout the season, she had been having trouble landing her toe-front dismount, which she hit at the Patriot District meet three weeks ago to take the all-around title. On Saturday, she made the dismount, but fell on the skill immediately before, a clear hip handstand. Hoey said she was pleased to overcome the mishap and still stick the dismount.
"Stuff happens," she said. "I made the dismount and that kind of made up for it."