By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knight gymnastics team sent four gymnasts to compete in the state open at New Milford High School on Saturday, Mar. 4.
Rachel Williams paced the Knights in all-around, finishing 35th overall out of 73 gymnasts. Williams tied for 11th (8.925) on beam and 30th (8.65) on floor.
“She was pretty solid on floor and a little wobbly on beam,” said Southington coach Kaitlyn O’Donnell. “Overall, she had a really good meet, and I think she did the best that she could.”
Kayla Birmingham tied for 17th (8.75) on vault and 22nd (8.8) on floor, sticking one of her landings on vault.
“She struggled all season with her injuries to her ankles,” the coach said. “So for us, it was finishing on a high note, and I think she did that. She had a beautiful floor routine and really nice vault. I’m very proud of the way that she finished.”
In her first time at the state open, Kat Rothstein tied for 23rd (8.55) on beam and finished 35th (8.125) on bars. Rothstein upgraded her beam routine for the meet and stuck it.
Normally, Rothstein performs a handstand straight into a back handspring. On Saturday, she flipped into two back handsprings connected, similar to Williams’ routine.
“It was flawless,” said O’Donnell. “She had a great routine.”
Rothstein also performed a more difficult bar routine as well.
“Getting the experience of going to the state open, being able to do her harder bar routine with the release, and adding in a series on beam was a great experience for her,” the coach said. “Hopefully next year, she’ll be able to now compete those at every meet.”
As the only Southington senior from this year’s graduating class to qualify for the state open in all four years of her scholastic gymnastics career, Meenan finished 33rd (8.475) on vault in her lone event of the day.
“She struggled a little in warm-ups,” said O’Donnell. “I really wanted her to end on a high note, and she did by making both of her vaults in the competition.”
Alyssa Alchimio of Sheehan High School, who competed with the Knights during the regular season, placed 15th (34.825) in all-around. She was ranked 19th overall coming into the meet.
Alchimio’s highest finish came on vault where she tied for 17th with Birmingham. She also tied for 22nd with Birmingham on floor, tying for 19th (8.775) on beam and finishing 23rd (8.5) on bars.
“I was really proud of her this year,” the coach said. “She overcame an injury and was able to come back really strong. She hit every event, which was awesome. She had a great meet for herself and ended on a high note.”
Woodstock Academy won the open title for the sixth-straight year with a score of 149.675, placing first on bars (38.275), vault (37.375), floor (37.375), and beam (36.65). Greenwich (143.725) finished as runner-up for the second-straight year, followed by Trumbull (139.95) and Daniel Hand (135.1).
Paige Stuyniski of Woodstock Academy was the top gymnast at the open, finishing first in all-around (38.8) and on beam (9.95). Adnerys De Jesus of Greenwich was not far behind after finishing as runner-up in all-around, placing first on vault (9.775) and floor (9.725). Grace Logan of Woodstock Academy was third in all-around, taking first on bars (9.75).
The top three teams and top six individual gymnasts on each event, including all-around, from each state qualify for the New England championship, which are scheduled to be held at Woodstock Academy on Saturday, Mar. 11.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (http://southingtonobserver.com/2017/03/07/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-march-10-edition/). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.