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Saturday, February 16, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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High School Sports

3A/2A gymnastics: State championship a first for Issaquah

Seattle Times staff reporter

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TACOMA — Julie Donate didn't doubt herself.

After all, this is what she came to Issaquah High School for, to have fun with gymnastics after years of grueling club competition. And what could be more fun than helping the Indians capture their first state crown?

So that's just what Donate did. With all eyes on her, she finished yesterday's Class 3A/2A team competition with a flair, earning a 9.575 on floor exercise to cement Issaquah's championship at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall. The Indians, who trailed Class 2A Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) heading into the final round, jumped in front with 177.425 points to Lakeside's 176.650. Columbia River, which led after the first two rounds, finished third at 175.225. Sehome was a disappointing fourth (173.675).

"When I was up (on floor), I knew what I could do," said Donate, who chose to attend Issaquah over Mount Si because the latter does not have a gymnastics program. "I thought, 'I'm here. I might as well go out and have fun and show what I can do,' and that's what I did."

Issaquah Coach Ryan Ryan Fleisher was not surprised.

"This is what she wanted for her senior year," Fleisher said. "She wanted to go out with a bang."

So did Lakeside senior Katie Dinsmore, who topped Donate to claim her second straight all-around title despite a major fall on her bars dismount that left her with a twisted ankle.

"Winning all-around again is a big honor," said Dinsmore, who capped her day with a 9.75 on vault to bring her all-around total to 38.375, well ahead of Donate's 37.175. "After peeling off (falling) on bars, I didn't think I had a chance. I just had to put it behind me."

Dinsmore was one of two Lakeside gymnasts to fall on the opening event, which ultimately cost the Eagles their first team title as they scored a season-low 42.4, well below their average.

"After that, it was an uphill battle," said Coach Laurie Chadwick.

Notes

• The top 10 finishers (plus ties) in each event advanced to today's finals, which begin at 12:20 p.m. For the first time, final placings will be decided solely on today's performances. Previously, scores from both days were combined.

• Dinsmore qualified on all four events. Donate advanced on all but the bars. Sammamish junior Helen Wong, third all-around (36.925), also advanced in all four events.

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