By BRIAN JENNINGS
Their routines are getting sharper. Execution is getting cleaner. The Lady Knight gymnasts are improving with every meet, and it’s showing in their scores. Since their first meet of the season, Southington has continued to score higher at each subsequent meet.
Although the Knights fell to Glastonbury by five points, 136.55-130.55, at home on Saturday, Feb. 3, they still managed to post their best score yet this year. Southington broke the 130-point barrier for the first time this season, and first-year coach Kim Vaillancourt said that it’s starting to show.
“They have straighter legs where they’re supposed to have the straight legs,” said the coach. “They have more pointed toes. They’re finishing their skills, and they’re not just kind of going through. They’re starting to really improve on their routines.”
Coming into this past week, the team focused heavily on pressure sets, which helped them for Saturday night’s meet. Girls that were planning on competing performed their routines as if it was an actual meet.
“We’re trying to get them more into the meet environment,” said Vaillancourt. “It definitely helped with how we scored today. I’m very impressed that everyone started to improve on all their scores. They’re starting to fix what they need to fix.”
The Knights were swept on all four events on Saturday night, scoring highest on vault and floor with a 32.9.
“They did their vaults the way they were supposed to do them,” said Vaillancourt. “When we told the judge exactly what vault it was, that’s the vault they did. They didn’t falter from what they were supposed to do. On floor, we started to add a few things that we saw were missing to increase the start values.”
Natalie Reeves marshaled the team with an all-around mark of 33.85, leading the Knights in every event, but beam, with an 8.6 on bars and floor, and an 8.45 on vault.
“She’s been great, and I’m glad she came out for the team, thank goodness,” said Southington coach Kim Vaillancourt. “She’s been stepping up where she needs to step up. Luckily, she came into the season with a lot of these skills, so it’s just a matter of cleaning and making her consistent with them.”
Kat Rothstein paced the team on beam with an 8.65.
Of Glastonbury’s 22 gymnasts, Emily Graef led the Tomahawks with an all-around score of 34.75.
The Knights will be back in action this week when they head back to Whiting Lane Elementary School in West Hartford for the third time this season to compete in the Valentine Invitational. The meet is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. Southington is currently 1-3.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2018/02/06/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-feb-9-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.