THORNTON — Third place at the state meet is nothing to shake a stick at.
But when you are Broomfield and you are used to adding a little hardware to the Eagles' trophy case, it stings a little bit.
On Thursday in the Class 5A team and all-around competition at Thornton High School, Broomfield — which came in with high expectations after a dominating performances at both the league championship and regional meets — knew it was going to take a nearly flawless effort to get the better of Overland or Pomona. It never materialized.
Pomona ran away with the team title, claiming their second straight with an overall score of 187.7. Second place Overland (185.875) was over three points clear of the Broomfield 182.575.
"I'm so proud of these girls and to be in this position, fighting today ... they didn't even believe they had a shot at the beginning of the season," said Broomfield coach Erika Taga, whose team has placed in the top two each of the last four years including a title in 2012. "We were the only ones that believed in them. And the improvements they made are so remarkable.
"We had a great two weeks and we left some stuff on the table last week at regionals, so it wasn't as though we peaked too early."
On Thursday night, the Eagles started on arguably their two toughest events — balance beam and uneven bars.
On beam, they only had one fall among their six competitors but the scores never really added up in their favor and ultimately they started out with a 45.6 team score. They went 47-plus last week at regionals.
Their second rotation took them to the bars and another overall team score in the 45's left them with ground to make up on the Panthers and the Trailblazers going into the final rotations.
"We definitely started to feel defeated in a way starting off that way and not hitting at the level we wanted," said Broomfield senior Nicki Verheyen, who finished sixth in the all-around competition. "We knew that we had to fight back and that we couldn't look defeated on the floor. We wanted to keep the energy up and light that fire within us."
The best two events for Broomfield loomed, but slips on the floor and an emotional gas tank that was running on empty by the time they concluded with vault never saw the scores they wanted materialize.
"Instead of building our confidence, I think we were questioning ourselves a little bit," Taga said. "And that is all it was. A little question here or there and that's enough to set you in the wrong direction."
Broomfield will be well represented in Saturday's individual apparatus finals. Abbi Edgerly (9.525 on the floor), Verheyen (9.575 on vault, 9.475 on beam and 9.05 on bars), Abby Holbrook (9.6 on bars and 9.45 on beam) and Nicole Remund (9.325 on bars)will all have a chance to make the podium.
Legacy's Abby Crosier, who competes for the Mountain Range team, qualified in both the vault (9.4) and on beam (9.55). Also Legacy's Natalie Prestwich snuck in on the floor with a 9.3.
CLASS 5A STATE MEET
At Thornton High School
Team scores — Pomona 187.7, Overland 185.875, Broomfield 182.575, Cherry Creek 182.225, Lakewood 179.65, Arvada West 178.975, Thornton 178.85, Chatfield 178.15, Rocky Mountain 177.9, Mountain Range/Legacy 175.35.
All-around — 1. Brooke Weins, Pomona, 38.925; 2. Amber Boll, Lakewood, 38.275; 3. Kaylie Berens, Pomona, 37.975; 4. Kelsey Boychuk, Pomona, 37.775; 5. Mackenzie Doerr, Cherry Creek, 37.45; 6. Nicki Verheyen, Broomfield, 37.4; 7. Avery Paxton, Cherry Creek, 37.275; 8. Samantha Demoss, Overland, 37.1.