Overcoming injuries; Lady Knight gymnasts still aren’t at full strenght

By John Goralski
Sports Writer

In her first competition this season, Lindsey Socquet scored for the Lady Knights in the beam competition and just missed the scoring as she set the baseline for the Knights on beam and floor.
On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Lady Knights should have been celebrating the return of one of their varsity gymnasts. Insteady, they were using her to plug holes in the lineup.
The result was the same. The Knights swept through the competition at the tri-state meet in Hebron to improve to 4-0. Their 138.35 score pushed their average into third place in the state.
But the girls have yet to field the team that they hope to take into the postseason meets.
“We are a team, and we have to carry each other. That’s kind of what we’re doing right now,” said Lady Knight coach Kaitlyn O’Donnell. “I really can’t say it enough how much Lindsey stepped it up for us. She’s just coming back from injury this week, and we needed her to step in for us today. That really helped a lot.”
There was never really any cause for alarm. Southington won all four events in the team competition. The Knights won on vault (33.6), bars (34.5), and beam (33.8), but it was the floor performance that impressed their coach. Erin Malone led the way with a 9.45. Lexi Rothstein (9.1), Marilyn Sporbert (9.0), and Kayla Nati (8.9) combined for 36.45 out of 40 possible points.
“I thought we really picked it up on floor,” said O’Donnell. “I think this was a learning experience for us. We had some injuries this week at the last second, so we had to kind of throw together a new lineup today. We had a few positives, but there were also some negatives.”
Malone powered the Knights in all four events, claiming the top score at the meet in every event to capture the all-around title with 37.65 out of 40 points.
“Erin’s bar routine was awesome,” said O’Donnell. “She did her big dismount this time, but she’s just so clean in everything she does. She doesn’t bend her knees. She doesn’t flex her feet. She was a standout today.”
On the other hand, the Knights were forced to shift their lineup with the loss of Sarah Leahy to a shoulder injury. Leahy did score on beam (8.3), but sat out the other three events.
Rothstein scored on vault (8.6), bars (8.5), beam (7.8), and floor. Kayla Nati scored on vault (8.0), bars (7.9), beam (8.40, and floor. Sporbert scored on vault (7.8), bars (8.4), and floor.
Southington scored 138.35 points to win easily over Hand (130.4) and RHAM (117.8), but without a full squad they continued to fall short of the 140 barrier.
“I’d like to think that this is something to motivate us, especially after last week when we did so well,” said the coach. “This is going to help make our practices a little more intense, and hopefully that will show in our next meet.”
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@ southingtonobserver.com.

By John Goralski Kayla Nati leaps across the mat during her floor routine on Saturday, Jan. 26. Southington beat two other teams in a tri-team meet.

By John Goralski
Kayla Nati leaps across the mat during her floor routine on Saturday, Jan. 26. Southington beat two other teams in a tri-team meet.

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