NORTHBOROUGH – Going into the final rotation, first place was separated by less than a point. The Wilmington/Bedford freshman team earned 109.325 points with their effort on beam, floor and vault, while top-seed Masconomet scored 110.775 and still had floor exercise left.
“I heard people telling us we were in first place throughout the competition, or they were saying we were up there, but I didn’t like to hear it. It disturbs me if I hear it,” said junior Alexa Graziano. “My mom texted me and said ‘you’re in second place’ and I said ‘don’t update me. I do not want to know’.
In this latest rotation, Wilmington/Bedford earned two 9.2s and another over 9.0, but Masco’s Meri Brandt and Bella Misiura earned 9.725s and 9.6s on floor exercise. , which pushed the Chieftains to take first place in the 12-team North Section. Gymnastics championship meet held Saturday afternoon at Algonquin Regional High School.
Masconomet finished with 147.25 points and Wilmington/Bedford put up another incredible all-around effort finishing second with a season-high 145.075 points. Reading, who were ranked second before the meeting with W/B third, finished third and fellow Middlesex League side Burlington finished fourth.
The top four teams along with the top four from the South Section, including Franklin, Framingham, Bridgewater/East Bridgewater and the Groton-Dunstable Co-op Team, all advance to this Saturday’s 8-team State Championship matchup. which will again be held at Algonquin Regional High School.
Yes, that’s right, Wilmington/Bedford’s freshman co-op and co-ed team is heading to the State Championship meet!
“No (we didn’t see that coming), not at all,” Wilmington High senior Jenna Danieli said. “At the start, I definitely knew we had so much potential, but I didn’t expect us to get second place (here in the sections). I’m so proud of the whole team. It was tough and today was definitely the toughest competition we’ve faced all season, especially with Reading.
The score of 145.075 was four points better than the side that took third place at the Middlesex League Meet, finishing behind Reading and Burlington.
“Today was a very unexpected second place because we knew we were the (third seed) but you never know what the kids are going to do that day, what the gear will be like. , which the judges are going to be like and (with all of that) we’ve been in most of our events,” said head coach Kristen Hannon. “We couldn’t be proud of the kids anymore. We couldn’t have asked them to do anything other than what they did tonight, and we didn’t even have our full list because some of the kids were away on vacation.
“We can only go up from here as a team, so no matter what happens next week, we’ll be one of the top eight teams in the entire state and you couldn’t have asked for anything more. of a first-year program.”
Wilmington/Bedford had strong performances on balance beam (36.775) – the lowest of the team’s four events all season – and floor exercise (36.625) then vault were nearly as good at 35.925.
“We knew we were in second place before the last rotation, but we couldn’t see the two rotations in front of us, so all we knew was that if we hit the bars or got close to them, we would be in the top four,” Hannon said. “But I didn’t expect the team score we got today at all. We still have room for improvement. We’ve had a few crashes (and other mistakes) but it’s getting higher and higher and we’re so proud of these kids. and the fairy tale continues.”
Starting on beam, W/B had four scores above 9.0, which is truly remarkable. Danieli was exceptional with a 9.275, followed by Emily Provost and Mikayla Comeiro, who both finished at 9.2, then Graziano finished at 9.1. Madison Marchionna and Alissa Ganley also competed and finished with scores of 8.150 and 7.975 respectively.
Next comes the floor exercise and Provost leads the way with a 9.450.
“I’m really happy with the beam because I got one of my best scores. I was happy with my floor because I had a bit of a mess but I still got a good score” , said Provost.
Graziano was right behind Provost with a 9.425, then Comeiro kept up his good day finishing with a 9.1.
“Mikayla competed in two of his three events, so we couldn’t have asked for anything more from him,” Hannon said. “She was amazing. Sasha hit most of her stuff and then we had to add new material because we had kids away so we had to mix up the normal lineup.”
Rounding out the field competitors were Danieli with an 8.650 and Marchionna and Ganley, who both had the same 8.450 scores.
The third event was the vault and again Provost and Graziano were 1-2 with scores of 9.450 and 9.425. Marchionna was very solid with an 8.6, and she was followed by Danieli with an 8.450, Comeiro with an 8.3 and Tyler Rauch, who finished with a season-best 8.1.
“It was my best score so far and I’m pretty happy with it,” Bedford resident Rauch said.
Rauch is the only male member of the team and also one of the newer members who had no previous experience in the sport, and here on Saturday he scores an 8.1 on vault in the North Section meet.
“Not only is this the first time these two schools have had a gymnastics team (in many years), but it’s also the first time I’ve done gymnastics, so in general, gymnastics is really new to me,” he said. “It’s new in a lot of ways and it’s been a lot of fun. I love every second of it.
“For me, it was a personal achievement. Before this year, I had never done a vault or anything (in gymnastics). The first competitions I was (quite nervous) but now I’m getting into it. am used to.”
He was asked to be the only man on the team.
“They’ve all been great in accepting me. They’ve welcomed me and I’m like all the other teammates, so there’s no difference and it’s just great,” he said.
Rauch did not compete in the team’s final event, the bars, but again saw tremendous performances as Provost and Graziano posted scores of 9.2, Ganley finished with an excellent score of 9.050, followed by Sasha Wintner at 8.3 and Brooke Stuzynski at 6.5.
Overall, W/B got 12 scores above 9.0 from five different gymnasts, while trying to fight the nerves of competition in such a big competition, but knowing that the team was fighting for the first square.
“Gymnastics is such a mental sport, so I think it helps us as teammates to know that we always help each other and lean on each other,” Danieli said. “We encourage each other during competitions and practices, so that’s really important. Also, Kristen and our assistant coach Brooke are very helpful in giving us corrections and relieving us of the stress of being a gymnast.”
The top four scores from each event totaled the team’s score, which was good for second place overall.
“I’m so excited. We’re a freshman team and a lot of us didn’t know each other before (it all started) because we’re from two different towns,” said Wintner, another Bedford resident. “So coming together and accomplishing this, none of us would have ever imagined.
“I didn’t even think we were going to have a gymnastics team. I’m a senior and I’m just happy that we’ve come this far and even have a team.”
Now come Saturday, W/B will compete for a shot at a state championship.
“I don’t know if I’ll be competing next week, but I can’t wait to cheer on my teammates,” Roche said. “It will be great. I’m excited. I knew the (Bedford gymnasts) were really good but I didn’t know how good the Wilmington kids were going to be, but I saw straight away how good they were. talented and I learned very quickly that we were definitely capable of going that far.