By KEVIN ROBERTS
There were three full teams, plus three different teams of one at the Southington gymnastics meet on Feb. 2 at American Gymnastics, but the support was the loudest for the Lady Knights.
That support comes from the team itself, the parents, and what coach Cassidy Chamberland called the team’s little “fan club” of schoolmates and younger siblings.
The support helped Southington score 126.2 points, yet another meet where the Knights improved on their team score from their previous meet. The 126.2 points were better than the 122.8 put up by South Windsor and the 120.8 scored by Ellington.
“We stress it a lot with our team just because when you hear everyone else being loud for you, it just gives you that extra boost of motivation to do well, knowing you have that support system behind you,” Chamberland said. “We stress it a lot here. Before every event, I remind them that I want to see the same energy that we saw in the last event, so it’s very important for us, and I think it works.”
Southington was very focused on the event where teammates and fans are the quietest, the beam. The Knights scored 31.5 points, with none of the five gymnasts going lower than a 7.2. The four scores that counted for Southington were 8.8, 7.9, 7.5, 7.3. Natalie Reeves scored the 8.8.
“We are really drilling hard at practice on beam,” Chamberland said. “I’ll set a certain amount of things that they need to hit on beam before they can move onto their next thing. We are definitely working to improve on that, and it’s showing, so that’s good.”
Reeves had Southington’s best all-around score at 34.5. Liz Beaulieu (31.9), Kaylin Leifert (31.4) and Alexa Caron (27.3) also had some good efforts for the Knights. Southington welcomed back senior captain Mychele Vaillancourt, who injured herself against Hall on Jan. 12 and didn’t compete in the last meet at Wethersfield on Jan. 24.
“Mychele just came back from her injury from the other meet and she hit all three routines. She couldn’t do bars still because of her arm injury, but we were really, really excited with how she performed on all of the events,” Chamberland said. “She really did an awesome job for us tonight, and it was really her first time throwing her full passes since she hurt herself.”
Rylee LeClair scored a 7.5 on vault. Chamberland said she is looking for improvement every meet, win or lose, and that’s what she got on Feb. 2.
“I think that this was our most consistent meet yet. I really just couldn’t be happier with how they performed today,” Chamberland said. “We’re still having minor mistakes here and there, but every single meet we’re getting better and better.”
Up next: It’s a busy week for Southington. The Knights were scheduled to be at Glastonbury on Wednesday, then back home Saturday for the last league home meet against Conard at 6:30 p.m. The Winter Invite has been rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 15, at 4:40 p.m. at American Gymnastics.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com