Gymnastics: Heritage student takes two individual state titles

Kate Bryant wins vault, floor exercise competitions in meet at Thornton

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Heritage High School's Kate Bryant is a state champion gymnast who is also an entertaining dancer.

Bryant, a junior at the Littleton school who was third in the all around on Nov. 4, won two Class 5A individual state championships on the final day of the three-day state meet on Nov. 6 at Thornton High School.

She won the vault competition with a 9.9 and she also was the champion in floor exercise with a 9.775 score.

Heritage coach Andrea Schmidt said Bryant is a talented and dedicated gymnast.

“Kate has such a positive attitude and a great spirit,” said Schmidt. “She is quiet but will often make her teammates and coaches smile by dancing before her routines.”

Bryant says dancing helps her relax.

“I started dancing during meets a couple years ago,” Bryant tells Colorado Community Media. “I really struggled with competing, and dancing kind of just took some of the seriousness out of an extremely nerve-racking sport. Surprisingly, it improves my focus.”

Bryant said she usually does macarena, sprinkler or shake dance moves.

“It quickly caught on with the team and it's easy to see how much fun we have when we are on the competition floor,” she said. “We dance during the meets to have the best routines we possibly can. It's just our thing.”

She didn't dance on the way to the podium after her two individual title winning performances, which were the first titles for the Heritage co-op team since 1982.

“I did pretty good,” she admitted. “I just had fun, that was the main thing. Honestly I was just glad the meet was over because it was really fun but it was really stressful, because once it was over it was a release and we could celebrate as a team.”

Her dancing translates into good gymnastic performances.

“I basically had to tell myself at the state meet not to over think it too much because that's when I start to get really mental,” said Bryant. “That's part of the reason why I dance. Whatever happens, happens. I try to do my absolute best.

“Thinking isn't bad but I have to trust that I know what to do and I just have to let my body take over. Basically my goal is to make it (performance) 1 percent better than last time.'

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