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Sunday, February 17, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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High School Sports

3A/2A gymnastics: Dinsmore finishes sweep of medals

Special to The Seattle Times

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TACOMA — Every time Katie Dinsmore returned from the award stand with a first-place medal, she draped it around the neck of someone in the group gathered around her on the tumbling mat at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.

She had plenty to go around.

Dinsmore, a senior from Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls, near Spokane), won all four titles in yesterday's Class 3A/2A state gymnastic individual finals. Combined with the all-around title she won in Friday night's team competition, Dinsmore became only the second gymnast in state-meet history to sweep all those crowns in a single competition.

Taunia Rogers of Inglemoor accomplished the feat in the 1982 state meet.

"That was a shock to me," said Dinsmore, who first learned of the distinction from a reporter. "That's quite an honor. This was my best performance ever, so it's perfect the way to end my high-school career."

Dinsmore outscored her closest competitors in every event yesterday by more than a tenth of a point. Her marks: 9.625 (vault), 9.775 (bars), 9.75 (beam) and 9.75 (floor).

Friday, Dinsmore took a spill while on bars, badly twisting her left ankle in the meet's first event. Still, she put up a total of 38.375 and cruised to the all-around crown.

Yesterday, she stuck a challenging double-back somersault to conclude her bars routine.

"Usually you don't think about holding on when you're doing bars," Dinsmore said, "but this time, I was thinking, 'Hold on to the bar. Don't peel (off).' I don't know if it helped or not, but the bars were a lot more chalked today than yesterday. It all helped."

She placed her medals around the necks of her mother, father, teammate Lauren Freeland (who qualified for floor) and Coach Laurie Chadwick, who earlier in the meet had been named Class 3A/2A coach of the year.

"Without them I probably wouldn't be here," Dinsmore said, "so I wanted to give them a little thank you."

Alli Moore of Sehome placed second in bars (9.65) and floor (9.55). Helen Wong of Sammamish took second in beam (9.55) and Tina Faulkner of Sehome was second in vault (9.175).

Julie Donate (floor, 9.5) and Elizabeth Giles (vault, 9.15) of state-champion Issaquah each claimed a third-place finish. Renee Rutchik of Ballard took third in bars (9.35) and Kim Merlich of Kennedy placed third in the beam (9.5).

Dinsmore hopes to attend Boise State, though she's not certain she'll continue gymnastics beyond high school. "It's really stressful," she said. "My body is getting older. I feel like a granny sometimes because I have all these aches and pains."

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