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Gymnastics: Niwot, Schlepp win home meet against Broomfield

Broomfield’s Irvin continues comeback from ankle surgery

Niwot High School's Sofia Braga-Arevelo performs ...
Niwot’s Sofia Braga-Arevelo performs her floor routine during a meet against Broomfield on Wednesday night. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

NIWOT — Kylee Schlepp didn’t let her nerves get the better of her.

When she took center stage on the floor, beam, bars and vault on Wednesday night at Niwot High School, the Niwot freshman just focused on what she did best. She set her mind to the new skills she’s been incorporating into her routines all season long. That was all she needed en route to winning the all-around at Niwot’s meet against Broomfield with a 34.850 score.

“I’ve worked so hard this season and my routines have changed a lot and evolved with how all the other skills are going,” Schlepp said. “It feels good and I feel relieved. I finally accomplished my goal and what I wanted to do.”

Since the beginning of the season, she’s worked on overcoming her fear of a back handspring on the beam. Now, she’s able to dismount her routine with the new skill to help increase her scores. She’s also changed her series twice in the event, from a handstand back handspring to a cartwheel handstand. Wednesday night’s win was a step in the right direction for the young athlete as she continues to learn the level of high school competition.

“It definitely boosts my confidence a lot knowing that I can win all-around against a 5A team, which is really cool,” Schlepp said.

Her outright victory helped boost the 4A Cougars to a victory over the Eagles with a 171.90 score to Broomfield’s 169.85.

NIWOT, CO - OCTOBER 12:Niwot High School's Kylee Schlepp performs her floor routine during a meet against Broomfield High School on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Niwot’s Kylee Schlepp performs her floor routine Wednesday night in Niwot. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

Schlepp is just one on a young Cougars team this year mostly comprised of freshmen and sophomores. As the season has progressed, with regionals just a few weeks away, head coach Marisa Purcell has enjoyed teaching her girls the ropes.

“Every week that goes on, they kind of learn something new,” Purcell said. “That’s what we’re trying to do is just have a meet and we kind of address how things went or what’s going on, so that they can learn from that and learn how high school works because they definitely don’t know. They’re trying to figure that out.”

Niwot’s Maeve Flentie won floor with a 9.050 as her teammate, Lilly O’Neill, claimed the gold in bars with a 9.100. Broomfield’s Miata Santos stood out atop the beam competition with a 9.300 as Kaia Bachrach took the reins of the vault with a 9.000.

Broomfield has found itself in a similar position to Niwot, as the younger girls learn to assimilate to a team that’s fresh off of a 5A state championship. Senior Maren Irvin, who played a strong role in that state title, has put together a bit of a comeback story in her final year following reconstructive surgery on her ankle earlier this year.

“It was pretty difficult because gymnastics is my outlet and not being able to have my outlet for so long, I didn’t know where to channel my feelings and all that,” Irvin said. “The recovery has definitely been very slow because I still do club gymnastics as well. It’s just been lots of basics before eventually coming to practice with high school.”

As she’s methodically worked her way back to full health, she’s learned to enjoy the sport much more and has even spent time upgrading her routines throughout the season, namely her tumble passes on floor.

Much like Irvin, the Eagles have approached this season through a slow build rather than jumping right into the strong scores early into the year. They reached their acme — so far this season, at least — last week during their home meet.

“This last Saturday, they went 180.16, the highest score by any team in the state so far this season,” Broomfield head coach Mark Bogoger said. “It was a good day. Everybody was up for senior night. It was at home. We may not see that kind of result again, not quite that good, because of the comfort of being home and the senior night stuff. They’re putting in their releases on bars. All of our JV girls are flipping vaults. They’re just really catching a stride. It’s really exciting.”