Stonington continues its strong start with gymnastics tri-meet sweep

Stonington — Lydia Laskey is the lone freshman on the Stonington High School gymnastics team. Coach Leslie Gomes calls her the Bears' "secret weapon."

"She's really quiet," Gomes said. "We're just starting to see her personality, seeing her compete."

"It was a last-minute decision," said Laskey, who was uncertain whether to join her sister Hanna, a junior, on the high school team or keep her focus on her club team at ABC Shoreline Gymnastics in East Lyme. "I'm enjoying it a lot."

Lydia led Stonington to last week's victory over Woodstock Academy, the defending Eastern Connecticut Conference, CIAC Class S and State Open champion.

And Monday it was Hanna's turn, as the Bears' swept the top three spots all-around to finish with a team total of 136.9, winning a tri-meet against the East Lyme/Waterford/Norwich Tech cooperative team (115.65) and Old Lyme (115.0).

Hanna Laskey won the vault (8.8), uneven bars (8.75) and floor routine (9.1) on the way to a first-place all-around score of 35.25. Katya Torruella, a junior, was first on balance beam and second on floor, both with a 9.0, to finish second all-around at 34.2 and Lydia Laskey was third all-around at 34.0.

The Bears are 7-1 overall and unbeaten in the ECC (4-0) headed into next Monday's tri-meet with Norwich Free Academy and Fitch.

The win over Woodstock came on Jan. 8 at Stonington by a 136.75-131.15 margin, with Lydia Laskey winning the all-around at 34.6 and Hanna following at 34.45.

Gomes admits to not really keeping track of the score during the meet — "I'm all over the place," she said. But she added that assistant coach Jerry Desmond "kind of peeks" and informed her Stonington was up five over Woodstock.

"They stood up their vaults. That was the start of it," Gomes said.

"Lydia flipped her vault for the first time," Hanna Laskey said of the Bears' first event against Woodstock. "A full flip off the vault. ... (Winning) was really amazing. We practice so hard in the gym. We were only two points away from beating the school record (138.1, 2003). At the end when we found out they hadn't lost in six years, we almost cried, but we didn't want to be cocky in front of the other team."

The Laskeys say they're not overly critical of each other as sisters, mainly supportive.

"We say a few comments like, 'Ha ha, I beat you,'" Hanna said. "When I see her do well, I try to work harder. We work off each other."

Lydia enjoys the balance beam. She scored an 8.9 Monday to finish second. Hanna's favorite is the floor, but she also has been adding elements to all her routines that she used at last year's New England meet, including a suberbly executed overshoot Monday night on the uneven bars.

"They're comfortable here," said Gomes of Stonington's auxiliary gym, where the Bears have their own ECC banner and their own U.S. flag hanging outside the school's main gymnasium. "We're not away until the end of January. They work hard. The kids all get along."

Kaitlyn Abby was the top all-around finisher for East Lyme with 33.25 points, placing third on the bars with an 8.4.

Old Lyme's Maria Denya, who was second all-around in last year's Shoreline Conference championship, finished tied for third on the beam (8.6) and third on floor (8.8), contributing to a team-best all-around total of 32.2. Old Lyme's Chloe Cahill tied for third in the vault at 8.3.

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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