Stonington gymastics third at S meet ... but headed to first State Open
Milford — The looks on Leslie Gomes’ face expressed the two vastly different outcomes for her Stonington gymnastics team at Saturday’s CIAC Class S championships.
Straight face — the Bears finished third, which was not as high as they’d hoped.
Happy beaming face — Stonington qualified for the State Open for the first time in program history.
“I didn’t expect third place, and after what I saw, I didn’t expect Open,” said Gomes, now in her 27th season. “So (the Open) was a great surprise.
“It was one of our goals to make Open, so it’s a great way to finish up. ... It's awesome.”
The Open is Saturday at New Milford (10 a.m.).
Woodstock Academy successfully defended its title with 140.425 points, followed by St. Joseph (138.325) and the Bears (136.600).
It was the 10th straight class title for Woodstock, which has also won the last 11 Eastern Connecticut Conference titles as well as eight of the last nine Open titles, including last season.
“This one is really special because Connecticut is really strong (at gymnastics),” Woodstock head coach Kasey Tocchio said. “The girls were definitely feeling the pressure today, but they did a really good job.”
There aren’t any individual titles at the divisional meets. No matter as Woodstock senior Jenna Davidson more than stood out. She had the highest mark on the bars (9.2), beam (9.5) and floor (9.375). Her scores in both the beam and bars were tops at any of the three class meets.
Davidson is the top all-around finisher returning to the Open (third).
Lindsey Gillies, Emily Arters and Elise Boisvert also scored for the Centaurs.
Lydia Laskey scored best on both the vault (8.850) and the beam (8.250) for Stonington. Hanna Laskey scored team-highs on the bars (8.950) and beam (9.200).
Stonington had hoped to finish higher based on its regular-season success. It split its two meets with Woodstock to tie for the regular-season title and finished runner-up at the ECC championships by a mere nine-tenths of a point.
“The vault was a tiny bit rough,” Gomes said about her team. “The beam was really rough. They have done really, really well on beam all year long. (There were) quite a few falls (today).
“They did great on the bars and the finished up great on the floor.”
Ruth Greene, Lila Rich, Madelyn Stepski and Katya Torruella also scored for the Bears.
Woodstock gymnastics has been on ridiculous run of success matched only by a special few programs in any sport in the state, such as Danbury wrestling or Greenwich boys’ swimming.
It was a big deal, then, when Stonington beat Woodstock on Jan. 8, 136.75-131.15. It also made the Centaurs go harder since then.
“That helped (my) girls tremendously,” Tocchio said. “That was a big eye-opener this year. We’re like, ‘okay, we can’t just be lackadaisical about things. We have to be sure we’re on our game.’ There have been years where it’s okay if there’s a fall here-or-there. This team has to be on.”
Gomes said of her Bears, “There have been a lot of firsts this year. They broke the school record (for points in a meet — 138.5). They tied for an ECC title. Then they made the Open.
“We’ve reached almost all of our goals this year.”