Raising The Bar: CHS Gymnasts Are On The Upswing To State


By Dan Trujillo

The Camas High School gymnasts keep raising the bar.

Propelled by a school record team score of 181.7, the Papermakers won the 4A district championship by more than 20 points Saturday at Battle Ground High School.

Senior Jacqueline Purwins clinched the all-around championship with 37.825 points. She finished first on the vault (9.475), second on the floor (9.7) and the beam (9.65), and fourth on the bars (9.0).

“It’s crazy because we’re not even at our best yet. There’s still some little things that we can clean up,” Purwins said. “It just kind of all came together. When you have a good first event, the rest of it is a lot easier to follow.”

Freshmen Shea McGee and Alyssa Shabata followed Purwins’ lead.

McGee grabbed second place all-around with 37.675 points. She finished first on the floor (9.8) and the bars (9.3), and third on the beam (9.35) and the vault (9.025).

“You just have to relax and pretend like it’s any other meet,” McGee said. “That was pretty snazzy,” she added about the team score. “We pulled out our best. I had so much fun.”

Shabata took third place all-around with 36.95 points. She earned second place on the bars (9.2) and the vault (9.1), fourth on the beam (9.55) and fifth on the floor (9.3).

“It was cool standing up on the podium with my friends,” Shabata said. “We’ve been working hard for this.”


Jacqueline Purwins dazzles on the floor for the Papermakers. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

Joy Marsh claimed fourth place on the vault (8.7) and ninth place on the floor (9.2). Madison Martin notched fifth place in the beam (9.05) and seventh place on the bars (8.2). Lizzy Wing gained fifth place on the floor (9.3) and 10th place on the vault (8.15). Sienna Brophy placed eighth on the beam (8.5) and Annika Afleck took eighth place on the bars (8.15).

Head coach Carol Willson couldn’t be more excited the Papermakers. They all get the opportunity to represent Camas at the 4A state meet, Feb. 16 and 17, at the Tacoma Dome.

“We were hoping for a 180. We beat that by almost two points,” Willson said. “We are in a good position.”

Although Purwins enjoyed competing at state as a sophomore, she said there’s nothing like being there with her teammates. The girls achieved that dream together for the first time last season and finished in second place. They’re very talented gymnasts.

“The biggest goal for all of us is winning as a team,” she said.

Purwins will be the only one to graduate from this program after this season. Marsh and Martin should be back to lead the team again as captains. Gymnasts McGee and Shabata are just getting started.

 “Have fun. Don’t get caught up in the competition because it always makes it worse. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned,” Purwins said. “Senior year is all about having fun. If we’re winning along with that, that’s great. But as long as I’m having fun, I’m OK with it.”

Camas team captain Joy Marsh and head coach Carol Willson cheer for a Papermaker during the floor exercise. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

Stevens makes history for Washougal

Katie Stevens became the first gymnast from Washougal High School to qualify for state, and she did it in all four events.

The freshman finished third on the vault, with a 9.175, fifth on the floor, with a 9.4, and fifth in the all-around, with a 33.775. Against seniors and juniors, no less.

“I really wanted to make it to state in at least one event,” Stevens said. “To get in all four is really insane.”

Stevens started the season with a brace on her foot, after straining tendons in her tibia and fibula. She returned to competition a few weeks ago.

“She had an amazing meet,” said head coach Carol Willson. “To see her come off at injury and get to state in all four events in very exciting. She’s starting something special for Washougal High School.”

Stevens knows the Camas gymnasts and coaches well. She has trained and performed with them at VEGA since she was 5.

“I’m very grateful that the Camas girls treat me as one of their own,” Stevens said. “They embrace that I’m from Washougal, and they’re not mean about it.”

Although she has no idea what to expect at the Tacoma Dome, Stevens embraces her opportunity to perform for Washougal on the big stage at state.

“I want to show them that little schools can do big things.”

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu

 Gymnasts Photo Gallery

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