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January 23, 2013 at 5:35 PM

“Beauty & The Beast” affords big stage for wrestlers, gymnasts at Roosevelt on Friday

The Roosevelt High School gymnastics and wrestling programs are merging their talents to put on an evening of “Beauty and The Beast” on Friday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

This rare night of simultaneous gymnastics and wrestling meets is believed to be the first at the high-school level in the state of Washington and showcases the talents of both sports in pomp-and-circumstance kind of night.

It sounds off Broadway.

The first Beauty and The Beast production at Roosevelt High School figures to be a little bit entertainment and a little bit smashmouth.

The refined. The rugged. The artful. The anguished. The soothing. The strained. The glorified. The gladiators.

Together in concert.

Beauty and The Beast is the first-of-its-kind at Roosevelt, combining the Roughriders gymnastics and wrestling teams in competition simultaneously on Friday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

This is a first in KingCo 4A competition to combine both gymnastics and wrestling meets on the same night in the same location – side by side.

“It’s about creating moments for these high-school athletes,” said Roosevelt gymnastics coach Bettie Espinosa-Kibala, who suggested the event idea last summer after seeing Boise State University put on a similar event for the last 10 years and witnessing it live. “Knowing the format and having been to that [Boise State] event, I approached our athletic director [Mike Scott], who initially said, ‘No, no, no.’

“Then , a few weeks later, he said, ‘Let’s do it.’ We really wanted to do something for the kids for inter-departmental bonding. It’s kind of unconventional. The wrestlers and gymnasts work closely together adopting each other, and we wanted to take it to that next level.”

The Roughrider gymnasts (4-4) host league power Woodinville and Ballard in a KingCo 4A tri-meet while the Roughrider wrestlers (5-3) square off with Woodinville (7-2) in a KingCo 4A dual meet.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for both students and seniors.

The event is believed to be the first of its kind in Washington state at the high-school level.

“We wanted to give these guys [in gymnastics and wrestling] a really fun event that affords them the kind of crowd that basketball gets,” said Espinosa-Kibala, the Riders’ fourth-year coach. “We wanted to create those moments for them. It really has hit every mark that we’ve looked for, and that’s getting these guys ignited and lighting that fire.

“They are so excited about it.”

Roosevelt’s wrestlers, coached by Jerry Miller, are led by senior Marc Moshcatel (120) and senior Jacob Sands (126). Moshcatel, who won the first individual tournament title of his high-school career at the River Ridge Hawk Invitational last Saturday, is 22-9 so far this season and Sands, a KingCo 4A champion at 126 and state qualifier in 2011-12, is 18-4.

Woodinville’s top wrestler is junior Ryan Christensen, who is 28-1 at 170 and a state runner-up at 160 in 4A. Christensen is ranked No. 1 at 170 in all classifications, according to The Falcons are 12-2 overall.

The Roughrider gymnasts are led by juniors Tani Hayashi (bars, all-around) and Rose Kibala (floor exercise) on the girls side and senior D’Andre Emmanuel (vault, floor) and junior Li Guangquan (floor, vault, bars) on the boys side.

“A good example of what an event like this means is something like Saturday when Li and D’Andre got up and did their floor [exercise] routines at a large invitational at Ballard High School,” Espinosa-Kibala said. “The whole room stopped. They had the crowd on their feet. You just don’t understand how much I wanted them to have that moment.

“Moments matter. There’s little things in life, and you collect these little moments. I was so happy to see them get their moment. That’s what Friday is about, too.”

Both Emmanuel, a street-taught break dancer, and Guangquan are first-year gymnasts.

“The format will add a little pomp and circumstance to the event,” Espinosa-Kibala said. “This will afford these athletes just that extra little moment that they wouldn’t normally get from a regular-season meet.”

Miller gives all the credit of organizing a unifying event like “Beauty and The Beast” to the gymnastics team.

“I’m pleased to be a part of the Beauty and the Beast event,” he said. “Wrestling needs a little help from the hard-working ladies. The gymnasts worked hard to make this event happen and deserve all of the credit.

“I’m thankful to the Woodinville gymnastics and wrestling squads for going along, too. They won’t be sorry. It will be a fun night. Full of spirit.”

The school’s spring musical happens to be “Beauty and The Beast” and cast members will be part of the presentation on Friday.

“We want to let these kids know that what they are doing is good and fortifies them,” Espinosa-Kibala said. “We’d had people asking for advanced tickets. It’s our hope to run a great event and keep it on the agenda and have these kids look forward to it every year.”

Roosevelt will host both the KingCo 4A and KingCo 3A gymnastics championships on Saturday, Feb. 2. The KingCo 4A begins at 10 a.m. and the KingCo 3A at 3:30 p.m.

Here’s a link to the event’s website:

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