Tessandore leads Highline Pirates to State for 2nd time in school history
For the second time in the school’s 96-year history, Coach Kevin Tessandore has led the Pirate gymnastics team to State. His current assistant coach was a member of his 2012 team. Tessandore became the head coach 17 years ago when his pregnant wife could no longer spot the girls. He quickly learned everything he could about the sport and has become one of the staple coaches at HHS. “It is more than competing and winning, it is about building family and connections amongst the girls. We are thrilled to be here and will enjoy every minute of it.”
Highline, who was undefeated for the second year in a row, was once again league champs after scoring 125 at districts. The one downside was Senior Captain, Kennedy Furlan, blew out her ankle and was not able to compete.
Losing only three seniors, the core of the Pirates will be back again next year and look forward to being a strong competitor in league play next year. According to Tessandore, it is hard to compete at State. Many of the schools are fortunate to have multiple club gymnasts in their ranks. Their girls have impressive skills, which are hard for smaller schools to compete against. We are just happy to be here and are focused on improving our personal bests. It is about family and doing our best, not necessarily about winning.
Junior Courtney Blanchet transferred to HHS last year and was shy at first, but soon found herself as part of the group. Now she loves welcoming in the younger students, continuing the tradition of creating a strong Pirate family. Courtney, who spent the year improving her beam connections and vault difficulty, came away with two personal wins at State. One of the beam judges was a former coach from 10 years ago. “I was nervous the entire routine and ended up doing my personal best on beam.”
The last event of the night for the Pirates was Courtney on vault. Between flights, she tried to master the landing of a full-on/full off vault. “I did 40 of them during warmups and could not stick a landing. I scored well on my first run, a ½ on- ½ off so we decided to throw the full version. I told myself it would be fine.”
On the last run of the night, Courtney stuck her impossible vault for the first time. Her teammates went nuts.
Highline was most impressed with improving their team score from 125 at districts to 130 at State. According to Tessandore, it is not easy to jump by five points at the end when the girls are sore from working hard all season long, but he believes in his team and knows they will continue to improve.
Thursday, February 20, 2020, element scores:
Bars: Riley Brown 3.7; Gabby Gonzalez 3.8; Lexi Weaver 4.75; Abby Sagmoen 4.2; Nadia Osborn 5.0; Courtney Blanchet 5.65
Beam: Osborn 7.675/9.5; Weaver 7.025/9.5; Blanchet 8.425/9.5; Nicole Brose 6.625/9.5; Emma Grothaus 7.175/9.2; Sagmoen 8.175/9.5
Floor: Sagmoen 6.65/8.1; Hazel Fosberg 5.275/8.1; Weaver 6.60/8.6; Wren Bergin 6.4/8.4; Blanchet 7.225/9.3; Grothaus 7.0/9.0
Vault: Fosberg 6.475/8.6; Grothaus 6.5/8.6; Gonzalez 6.95/8.6; Weaver 6.95/8.6; Blanchet 8.0/9.4