THORNTON — Late Friday night following the first day of the Class 4A state championships at Thornton High School, Niwot’s Mia Curry sat on the floor in a circle with her teammates listening as the announcer slowly named the finishers in the all-around competition.
The Cougars sophomore always considered winning an all-around state championship a long-term goal she could build towards, hopefully, by her junior or senior seasons. But she allowed herself to believe more and more each time a name was said and it wasn’t hers. Eventually, there was only one name left.
And with that, she was named champion a couple years ahead of schedule.
“It’s something that I definitely felt like I was working towards,” Curry said. “I didn’t actually think I’d be able to achieve it this soon. I thought it would be a junior-year, senior-year kind of thing so I’m really excited about that.”
Behind several experienced seniors as a freshman last fall, Curry did not even compete in the overall competition at state. So, she wasn’t the only one at Thornton surprised to hear her named called last on Friday night.
Curry’s winning score of 37 points even was enough to edge Green Mountain’s Sarah Hitchock for the all-around gold. She took first (9.475) in the floor, fifth (9.15) in the vault, second (9.2) on the bars and third (9.175) on the beam.
“Each event felt pretty good,” Curry said. “Some things were a little bit shakier than they usually are. But in the end, I felt pretty good.”
Curry’s triumph aside, the opening day of the state championships did not go quite as well as the Cougars had hoped. But given their talent and depth, the Cougars still finished among the top teams in the state.
Niwot gymnastics finished either first or second in four straight seasons from 2015-18, including a team title last season, and has finished no lower than third in each of the past six seasons after coming in third as a team in 2019. The defending champion Cougars amassed a team score of 174.525, placing behind Green Mountain’s 177.375 and state champion Elizabeth’s 179.7.
“You can always do more, always do better,” Niwot head coach Marisa Purcell said. “We came in and there was a lot of nerves in the beginning, even in warm-ups. It took some time to get some of the younger ones to settle in and have some confidence in what they were doing. It’s definitely a younger team and we’re in a building year so we’re really proud of how they did.”
Niwot’s Savannah Slater finished just outside the top eight in the all-around competition, finishing ninth. Olivia Sroka scored a 9.325 to place third in the floor, and Mallory Christopher and Ava Silverstein each placed top 20 in at least one event.
The individual portion of the gymnastics state championships will take place on Saturday at Thornton High School, beginning at 1:30 p.m.