The Perfect 10; Kristy Dougan launched a dynasty

“It was about staying focused and relaxed,” she said. “I tried to compete smart. If I wanted to change a skill or combination in the last minute, I did. The key was always making sure my start value was at the closest possible to a 10.0, then executing with minimal error.”

Of course, there was a price for her efforts. As she continued to push herself further, her body began to break down. First came the shoulder surgery, then came the fracture. Dougan was not able to defend her all-around title, but she continued to compete in whatever events she could for her team. Still, the medals kept coming and the Knights kept winning. Dougan said that was all that mattered.

“I knew I probably would never match my sophomore year, but the scores didn’t matter to me,” she said. “I was in love with the sport, and anything I could do just to compete was good enough for me. My determination led me to come back as strong as possible for my junior and senior years.”

She was never able to compete in the all-around again, but she continued to dominate whenever she competed. As a junior, she captured state titles on beam and floor on her way to a New England title on beam. As a senior, she defended her beam title and added a New England title in the floor competition as the Knights rallied for a New England record (152.825) that still stands after almost a decade.

Dougan’s teams are the only ones that have even come close.

“It was so special for all of us. The way we came together was beautiful. We changed the way of high school gymnastics throughout the state by not just having one leader, but by all being leaders and motivators for one another,” she said. “I knew we left a great mark with our accomplishments. I hope our success inspired those in the following years to achieve greatness.”

If that’s all she did in high school Dougan would have left an indelible mark on the program, but her efforts in the fall were just as impressive as her winter showcase. Diving has never been the driving force for Southignton swim teams because there is no diving board at home meets, but Dougan wasn’t about to let that stop her.

She qualified for the postseason during road trips. She had to travel across the state for practice and competition, but Dougan rallied for the Class LL title as a junior. She scored state open championships as a junior and senior. She was named as an all-American after her junior year and still holds the school record for six dives (227 points) and 11 dives (374.75).

“When you go back through our history at the high school, I don’t think that there’s anybody that can compare to her as a diver,” said Dubinsky. “We had some good divers come in, but she just stepped it up and took it to the next level. She just out-performed everybody that she went up against.”

That’s why the Southington Sports Hall of Fame selection committee couldn’t wait decades to induct Dougan into the local hall of fame. It simply wouldn’t be complete without Southington’s youngest inductee. On Thursday, Nov. 14, Dougan will be honored in an induction ceremony at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville.

“She’s the first gymnast, and we couldn’t ask for a better spokesperson for our program,” said Knox. “I’m really happy that she’s being recognized. I remember her romping around the gym with diapers on, and then she was the best in the state. It was an amazing career.”

To reserve tickets, contact Jim Verderame at (860) 628-7335.

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@southingtonobserver.com.

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

Leave a comment

You must be