A pair of Southington gymnastics sophomores got the chance to compete at the state open meet on March 6 at New Milford High School. The meet was rescheduled from March 2 because of a snowstorm.
For Natalie Reeves, it was her second straight appearance at the open. For Kaylin Leifert, it was a first-time experience. Reeves competed in both vault and uneven bars while Leifert participated in vault.
Reeves had the best finish of the day for either competitor, taking a tie for 11th on the uneven bars with a score of 8.5.
“She went in knowing what she needed to do and gave it everything she had,” coach Cassidy Chamberland said of Reeves. “She competed in an upgraded bar routine and it was truly the nicest one I have seen her do all season. She missed qualifying for New Englands by 5 hundredths of a point, but I was really proud of her for the way she competed.”
Reeves scored an 8.25 on vault and tied for 33rd place out of 40 competitors. She qualified for two events this season after competing on just uneven bars as a freshman.
“I know Natalie will continue to improve for next season and qualify for more events as a junior,” Chamberland said.
Leifert didn’t register a score on vault.
“She had a really nice vault but the landing did not go quite as she expected,” Chamberland said. “Regardless, she did a great job and I am so impressed at how she came through for the team this season.”
In Leifert, Chamberland sees another gymnast who will continue to get better.
“She is another gymnast who will come into her junior year with more upgrades and qualify for more events at the state open next year,” Chamberland said. “She has amazing form and lines in her gymnastics, so now we will work on gaining new skills for the next season.”
Reeves was the top all-around performer for Southington this season, and Leifert put up some great scores as well.
“Both gymnasts have been huge assets for the team at such a young age,” Chamberland said. “They should be extremely proud of themselves for their successes this season both individually and for the team. As upperclassmen, I am looking for these girls to lead a new team of younger athletes and set the standard.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com