Kamryn Ryan’s collection of state medals is growing.
The sophomore Hahnville gymnast captured the Level 8 state championship in the floor exercise event, while finishing as runner-up in vault and all-around and third place in the uneven bars. Level 8 is the highest level Louisiana gymnasts compete in the LHSAA.
Though her performance netted those rewards, the day was somewhat bittersweet for Ryan, who stormed the state championship meet as a freshman and shocked the competition, sweeping all four categories to capture the state championship in each. She improved her score from last season in each of the four.
“It feels pretty good to be able to go out there and hit again, but I mean I was ultimately kind of disappointed in myself to not winning all-around for a second time,” Ryan said. “But at least I brought home one state championship. I even increased all my scores. It was a lot more intense this year. More seniors, more level 10s (though the highest LHSAA level is 8, gymnasts can reach higher levels on their own in outside competition) than I’ve usually competed with. It was tough, but I almost got it.”
Ryan’s score of 9.9 in the floor exercise was the highest mark of any competitor in any event at any level. The next best mark at Level 8 was Dutchtown’s Kendall Knaps, who recorded a 9.850.
“It was flawless,” said Hahnville gymnastics coach Courtney Grabert. “It was a difficult routine and it was impeccable. It was up-tempo. The music was great, she was great, she was upbeat and she executed it flawlessly. It was a tricky routine. She had a series of 30 very difficult jumps in a row and she landed them all.”
Added Ryan: “I got to express my personality, just go out there and end on a positive note.”
Ryan was edged for the all-around championship by Ursuline’s Lucia Coco, who hit a mark of 38.350. Ryan’s mark was 38.250, with East Ascension’s Mackenzie Westmoreland coming in third with a score of 37.600.
In the vault, Ryan’s score of 9.450 placed her second, and on the bars she scored 9.600 to take third. Her score of 9.300 placed her sixth on the beam.
Both Ryan and Grabert said the feel of the event was a bit different this season, with Ryan walking in as overall defending champion.
“She’s made a name for herself,” Grabert said. “You would hear the murmuring in the stands as she walked by, ‘that’s Kamryn Ryan, she won last year,’ or, ‘Kamryn’s group is competing on this floor, let’s go and watch.’ People knew her.”
Grabert acknowledged her star’s disappointment following the announcement of all-around scores, but said the two have talked about keeping the performance in perspective.
“It was tough,” Grabert said. “It was tough because Kamryn felt like she disappointed us. She felt like she disappointed the school, like we expected her to do as well if not better than last year … and that’s just not the case, because she makes us proud regardless of what medals she takes home or if she doesn’t take anything home. (Grabert was) kinda just talking to her, saying, ‘Hey look, this is a part of it, you came out last summer, made yourself known, and people were preparing for you this year.’
“Take it as a compliment that people prepared for her. Next year, we’re gonna prepare to get her back on the top of the podium.”
She added that, in a way, Ryan’s stellar freshman year inspired others to raise the bar and their own level of performance.
“In a way, it was almost like last year, she single handedly raised the bar for gymnastics in Louisiana,” Grabert said. “She kinda popped on the scene as a freshman and people were like, ‘Uh, who was that and what did she just do to us?’ They kinda came gunning for her this year. She’s eager to come back next year and get back to No. 1.”