NIWOT — Of all the fall sports, perhaps the most forgiving from the get-go is gymnastics.
Sure they have been in the gym, practicing their routines relentlessly for the last two weeks, but nothing really prepares them for that first actual competition.
On Wednesday night, in a steamy gym at Niwot High School, the young Cougars embarked on their 2017 season with a few falls and a couple more mistakes; but all-in-all it was a great start to the season against Fort Collins. Niwot won the meet 172.325 to 168.625 led by first place all-around performance from junior Lindsay Chohon.
"The last few weeks you are getting to know each other and the biggest thing I ask of them today is just go out and try," Niwot coach Marisa Purcell said. "Do your routine and do it to the best of your ability and we will go from their."
Even with a short-handed roster due to injuries, the Cougars had different girls step up and fill roles in their first varsity meet and while some seemed fazed by the moment, they also seized the opportunity to make the most of their chance.
And it was Chohon that pumped up her team and motivated the rest of the girls throughout the night with her leadership — especially with her performances.
She started on the vault — where she was a state placer last season at the Class 4A meet — and scored a 9.325 to finish second behind Fort Collins' Melia Beccard (9.775).
With her game face on, Chohon then went out and posted the best score of the night on the bars (9.05), beam (9.3) and floor (9.425).
"More than anything, I try to prepare the girls and that helps me prepare, because this is more of a team thing," said Chohon, a junior at Frederick. "They help me, I help them."
For the first meet of the season, Chohon didn't have exceedingly high expectations, but was more than proud of her overall performance.
"I just wanted to do my best, go through all my tricks and wanted my team to do they best they could," said Chohon, who hopes to build off of Wednesday night's effort. "Practice definitely make perfect, so there is more to come."
Said Purcell, who was concerned after Chohon fell in practice a little over a week ago: "Confidence building for her is going out there and doing what she knows how to do. We got a new floor routine this year, so her and I worked on that and she wanted a more fun and upbeat routine ... it's a performance, so go out there and show it off and have some fun."
Niwot sophomore Taylor Green finished third in the all-around with a score of 35.45, highlighted by a good showing on the floor (9.3) and the beam (9.1).
Purcell has high expectations for freshman Grace Stephenson, who after a tough start culminated her night with an awesome floor routine that earned a 9.2 from the judges.
"You kind of know the jitters are going to be there the first time," Purcell said."It's just getting into the groove and I'm okay with where she is at."
NIWOT 172.325, FORT COLLINS 168.625
All-around — 1. Lindsay Chohon, Niwot, 37.1 2. Melia Beccard, Fort Collins, 37.075; 3. Taylor Green, Niwot, 35.45.
Vault — 1. Beccard, Fort Collins, 9.775; 2. Chohon, Niwot, 9.325; 3. Izzie Mitchell, Niwot, 8.9.
Uneven bars — 1. Chohon, Niwot, 9.05; 2. Beccard, Fort Collins, 9.0; 3. Maddie Brodie, Niwot, 8.5.
Floor — 1. Chohon, Niwot, 9.425; 2. Green, Niwot, 9.3; 3. Grace Stephenson, Niwot, 9.2.
Beam — 1. Chohon, Niwot, 9.3; 2. Beccard, Fort Collins, 9.1; 3. Green, Niwot, 9.1.