Northwest gymnast Jones a calm, accountable leader

It’s the final rotation of the Kansas Gymnastics State Championships, and up to this point the Shawnee Mission Northwest squad had experienced a day filled with jubilant highs and gut- wrenching lows.

Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Camry Jones helped the Cougars place third at the Kansas Gymnastics State Championships.

The last competitor in the balance beam steps onto the narrow plank, knowing if she puts together a fabulous performance, an individual and team championship could be in the near future.

Although everyone surrounding the beam is visibly uneasy, her emotions don’t waver; in fact, the look on her face remains the same as when she walked into the arena eight hours earlier.

Camry Jones — the Shawnee Dispatch’s Shawnee Mission Northwest Female Senior Athlete of the Year — rose to the occasion that day and won the individual balance beam state championship with a score of 9.3. Her performance also secured the team title for Northwest, the program’s first since 2001.

“For her to go out there and stick that routine, I was so happy,” SMNW coach Karen Lee said. “But I didn’t think anything less of her. I knew she would (come through) because she always did.”

For Jones, who also finished second in the all-around competition at the state meet, the formula for her success on the balance beam is pretty simple.

“I don’t get that nervous when I do it,” she said. “I just focus on staying tight and staying on the beam.

“I think as a whole, the team did really good. We did good last year, too, but I think we felt more like a team and cheered each other on and it was just exciting that I got the state title on beam. It was crazy.”

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