Gymnasts leap into winter competition

Taryn Meenan leaps across the beam during the Lady Knights’ 18-point victory over South Windsor in the season opener.

Taryn Meenan leaps across the beam during the Lady Knights’ 18-point victory over South Windsor in the season opener.

By BRIAN JENNINGS
STAFF WRITER

The Lady Knights (1-0) stepped into the new year with new faces and new hopes, looking to continue building on the success they achieved last season. The girls opened with a 132.3-114.7 win over South Windsor (0-1) at C.A.T.S. Gymnastics in Cheshire on Saturday, Jan. 2.

One of those new faces for Southington is sophomore Rachel Williams, and she showed future potential as one of the rebuilding foundations for the Knights gymnastics program. Williams stole the show and finished with the best overall scores on vault (9.0), bars (8.2), and floor (8.8), anchoring the Southington with the best all-around score of 34.6. Williams also finished second on beam (8.6).

“She [Williams] showed us everything she could do” said Southington coach Kaitlyn O’Donnell. “I definitely expected her to be a strong one coming out. It’s good to see that she’s getting more confident with what she’s doing. She’s moving up. She was a freshman last year, and now she’s a sophomore. You see it kind of building.”

Taryn Meenan finished with the second best overall score on vault (8.9), bars (8.1), and all-around score (32.25). Meenan also finished with the team’s fourth best score on floor (7.8).

Kayla Birmingham finished with the third-best all-around score (31.9). Birmingham placed the second best overall score on floor (8.5), tied Meehan for second on vault, and tied sophomore Kat Rothstein for third on beam (7.7).

“Kayla Birmingham did really well on all four events that she did,” the coach said. “She improved a lot from last year, and it was really nice to see her upgrades. She’s a really hard worker in the gym. So, it’s always nice when you can see them excel like that.”

Rothstein posted the third best overall score on bars (7.6) and the team’s third best score on floor (8.0). Vicky Castillo bounded to the best overall score on beam (8.9). Sarah Dolan scored on vault (8.5) and bars (7.1).

Carissa Hebler led South Windsor with the fourth best all-around score (31.2).

O’Donnell said that she thought vault and floor were their strongest events.

“We hit all of our vaults, so that was good,” the coach said. “Rachel did a new vault, so that was really good for her. Floor, we just had a lot of solid routines.”

For the first meet of the season, O’Donnell said that she was really pleased and thought her young squad performed well after the holiday.

“We only had one fall on beam, which is huge for us, but I thought we had a good day overall,” said the coach. “It’s a little bit of a different look, missing those three, strong senior competitors, but the girls are starting to step up.”

Next, Southington will host Wethersfield on Saturday, Jan. 9.

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