BROOMFIELD — Even when they're one of the top teams entering a season, which they usually are, the Broomfield gymnasts still find a way to make their seasons somewhat of a comeback story.
The Eagles won the Class 5A state championship in 2012. They have finished runners-up in each of the three seasons since and haven't finished lower than fourth in the past six years. But all of the past few years have shared the common theme of early-season injuries and a timely upward surge at the end.
Still recovering from the injury bug that has bitten them hard in the past year and with just four weeks left in the 2016 campaign, the Eagles might be more reliant on one of their trademark strong finishes than ever.
"We always want to peak at the very end," senior captain Nicki Verheyen said. "We're definitely known for peaking at the very end. Every year it seems like we start off with injuries and this year is the same. Nicole Remund and Abby Holbrook still aren't fully back but that's OK. They're slowly getting their way up there and as the season builds, we're getting more and more energy and passion in the gym."
Holbrook, who placed sixth in the all-around as a sophomore last year, has been slowly returning from a back and ankle injury sustained during the preseason. Remund, who was another top sophomore all-around gymnast for the Eagles last season, broke both ankles at practice the Monday before last year's regionals. Both Holbrook and Remund have been limited in their events this season but continue to improve.
Verheyen is healthy and has placed on the balance beam two years running but junior Heidi Liles, who has been the team's top all-around gymnast in 2016, is battling a toe injury. But the rash of injuries and uphill climb to overcome them has only brought the Eagles closer together, according to Remund.
"We've had a rough start but since then we've really fought hard in practice," Remund said. "Our consistency and our morale have gotten better and that's helping our scores. We're all doing whatever little things we can to help the team scores improve."
In a sport where one incredible gymnast can make a team, the Eagles don't have one. At least, they don't have one that's currently 100-percent healthy. But what head coach Erika Taga believes they do have is a number of talented girls who are spread around to anchor each event.
"We don't have a superstar but we have seven or eight girls who are all ready to contribute and a different girl anchoring each event for us," Taga said. "This group is a tighter-knit group than we've had in a long time and that's not to say that the past years' teams weren't. Coming into the season we were thinking top ten, maybe top five depending on who we got back. We also knew we were going to have to find some people to step up and we have. From what I've seen so far fromaround the state and the potential I know we have, I think we could be in the mix."
This year's regional meets will be held on Oct. 29. The state meet, which will take place at Thornton High School, will be held on Nov. 3-5.