By BRIAN JENNINGS
Although the Lady Knights suffered their first regular season loss in six seasons after falling, 124.15-123.4, to Wethersfield on Saturday, Jan. 13, Southington coach Kim Vaillancourt and her Knights aren’t dwelling on the loss. If anything, Vaillancourt said that she expected the kind of performance she saw from her girls in only the first meet of the season.
“We have a lot of new gymnasts this year, so they’re all getting their feet wet,” the coach said. “We changed the roster three times this week from what we originally wanted to do because of injury and other circumstances, but we definitely pulled it together. This is our first meet, so I’m hoping that we can only go up from here.”
Southington’s previous regular season loss came during the 2011-12 season when the Knights fell, 145.2-140.85, to Glastonbury at C.A.T.S. in Cheshire. The team also suffered a 137.95-135.10 loss to Conard at Whiting Lane Elementary School in West Hartford earlier that season.
At Saturday’s meet, the Knights won vault (31.5) and floor (31.6), but were beat out by hundredths of a point on bars (31.5) and beam (29.1). Understandably so, there is still a lot to clean up across all events, but Vaillancourt said that she was most pleased with beam.
“We really stepped it up,” said Vaillancourt. “Everyone tried to do their best, and it was great.”
Natalie Reeves paced the Knights in all-around with a score of 31.85, leading the team on floor (8.3) and bars (7.85).
“She’s coming in, and she’s working her tail off,” the coach said. “Her floor routine was very good. She was willing to do her full and made it all the way through her third pass. It’s just a matter of more cleaning and getting her to where she needs to be for the high school.”
Kaylin Leifert was right behind Reeves with an all-around score of 30.8, leading the team on vault (8.1) and beam (8.1). Jen Thai and Alexa Caron contributed with all-around scores of 29.65 and 27.5.
The Knights were without Rachel Williams for the meet after she went down with leg injuries during practice earlier in the week. There is no timetable on her return, but Vaillancourt said that she expects Williams to return to the lineup soon.
Going forward, Vaillancourt said that the team is going to continue to keep working on everything every day.
“We’re going to really look at those routines, fix what we need to fix, and try not to give anything away,” said Vaillancourt. “We’re going to really come together as a team like we did today.”
The Knights will look to earn their first win of the season this week when they travel to Whiting Lane Elementary School on Thursday, Jan. 18 to take on Hall.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2018/01/16/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-jan-19-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.