By BRIAN JENNINGS
GLASTONBURY—The Lady Knights gymnastics team entered Friday night’s meet at the Gymnastics Express Too Gymnastics Center banged up with some injuries, but their hard work and determination are just some of the reasons why Coach Kaitlyn O’Donnell’s girls were still undefeated at the end of the meet.
The Knights defeated Glastonbury, 138.15-129.85, moving them to 3-0 in what would be one of their biggest meets of the season.
“We had a few injuries actually happen in the meet, so I think despite that we did pretty well and there was a lot of little things that we changed that we changed that I thought they did pretty well,” said O’Donnell.
Senior Sarah Leahy walked into Friday night’s meet with a few injuries, major ones, but she still went out there and competed with her fellow teammates, displaying the resiliency of a true fighter.
“Sarah’s a little bit injured, so that was a little challenging for her,” said O’Donnell.
Senior Lexi Rothstein (35.15) led the team in the all-around competition even though she wasn’t 100 percent. Rothstein also led the Knights in vaulting (9.2) and floor (9.3).
“She hurt her finger in warm-ups on bars,” said O’Donnell. “She was hurt in the whole meet, but she pushed through and she performed pretty well.”
Junior Vicky Castillo led the Blue Knights (32.05) in bars (8.3). Marilyn Sporbert (34.3) led the Blue Knights (36.2) in beam (9.4).
“Floor was a really good event for us,” said O’Donnell. “And I think beam, even though we didn’t hit beam, we made a lot of improvements that I thought were good.”
Sophomore Taryn Meehan (34.0) impressed her coach and showed some promise as a possible up-and-coming talent.
“I thought today that Taryn did really well,” she said. “She hit everything and that’s a big thing for her. And I thought she was very clean on all of the stuff that she did.”
O’Donnell said technique and routines aren’t all that she’s so worried about when it comes to her girls. “Honestly, I think we have to work on our confidence and just knowing that we can just go out there and perform our routines and hit them,” said the coach. “I think that for us, our goal is to try and improve each meet. We didn’t particularly think, oh this is our rival team. We were really just focusing on what little things can we improve from the last meet we had.”
Looking ahead at the rest of the season, O’Donnell is looking for her girls to reach a certain peak atop the mountain.
“Well, we’re halfway through,” she said. “So I think for us we’re just going to try and hit that 140 mark. We’ve come really close to it…haven’t quite hit it yet. And I think that’s a goal for us for states.”
O’Donnell came into Friday’s meet with a perfect 34-0 record in regular season dual meets, but doesn’t take full credit for having so much success. “It feels pretty good,” she said. “I’m very proud of the athletes I get to work with. When you have a great group of kids, it makes it all the more fun. They have a lot of fun. They like to come to meets and do the best that they can and I enjoy just being with them while they do that.”
The victory came on the heels of a 139-126.25 victory over the RHAM Sachems on Monday, Jan. 19 at the Patti Dunne School of Gymnastics Center in Hebron.
Rothstein (36.0) led the Blue Knights in the all-around scores, vault (9.1, 35.35), and floor (9.3, 35.1). Castillo (8.7) led in bars (33.7) and Sporbert (9.05) led in beam (34.85).
The next stop for the girls is at the Farmington Valley Gymnastics & More LLC Gymnastics Center to battle it out with the Farmington Indians on Saturday, Jan. 31.