Gymnastics Program Continues Success With Win Over Natick

Catherine Formica

Walpole Freshman performs on Beam
Walpole Freshman performs on Beam

After Carey foe Needham ended a four-meet winning streak for the Rebels — which included wins over Norwood, Brookline, Weymouth and Braintree — the 6-3 Rebels bounced back to top Natick on January 31 to guarantee a winning season.

Rebel Gymnastics had won four home meets at New England Sports Academy in a row starting with Norwood and Brookline during which the girls ended with final scores of 125.85-123.7 and 129.5-105.0 before their loss to Needham.  In the next meet against Weymouth, the girls won with a score of 131.0-127.6 and also achieved a season goal of scoring above a 130.0. Then, continuing the winning streak, Rebel Gymnastics defeated Braintree with a final score of 131.7-123.5.

After the win against Weymouth, freshman Brigid Ford said, “It felt good to get our first score in the 130’s at home because we were in control the whole time. It was exciting to dominate on our turf.” On the balance beam, Chloe O’Hara was a bright spot among many stars on the day, scoring high with an 8.5 after performing a cartwheel-roundoff connection.

In the meet against Braintree, sophomores Kaitlin Porter and Sam Chauvin stepped up to the plate on beam and scored high, both with 9’s, to assist in the win. Porter, performing a backflip with a full twist, received the highest score on the beam apparatus with a 9.3. Sam Chauvin followed closely behind scoring a 9.2 by executing a leap-backtuck connection.

The four meet winning streak came to an end when Rebel Gymnastics fell to Needham with a final score of 132.7-131.35. The meet, at Needham High School, started out with numerous people falling during the warm up and first two events—vault and bars. “We all had really bad, negative energy and that brought down everyone’s focus, and honestly we really struggled in the beginning” said freshman Sarah Stanton. The team was competing at a location that was completely unfamiliar to them and the tough start had an obvious impact on their performance.

A complete vaulting lineup consists of 6 competitors yet only five were able to compete, and there were four falls between the five competitors. However, as the team began their floor warm-up, Captain Christina Coville pulled them aside and said, ”Forget about vault and bars. Let’s focus on fixing our mistakes on floor and beam”.

The girls then competed their floor routines, and Kaitlin Porter even scored a 9.2. The high-energy remained throughout the beam lineup with Hannah Phelan scoring an 8.6 with a front-handspring connected to a back-handspring. Despite the falls during vault and bars, the team managed to pull out a score of 131.35.

Following the loss, Rebel Gymnastics competed at NESA against Natick and won scoring a season high of 133.8-126.2. On the vault, freshmen Isabelle Nee and Chloe O’Hara contributed to the winning score. Isabelle performed a half on-half off (round-off onto the vault with a half turn off) and scored high with an 8.0 and Chloe scored an 8.75 on the vault performing a front-full. Hannah Phelan had the highest score on bars with an 8.4 performing a shootover (a swinging transition from the high bar to the low bar). On the beam, Kaitlin Porter received the highest score, a 9.4, competing a tuck-full dismount. Sam Chauvin also scored high with an 8.8, contributing to the overall score.

With one of the biggest preseason goals of the season accomplished with their win over Natick, the next objective is having many of the girls qualify for the Individuals Meet in which every gymnast’s top four scores are averaged and the top 25 gymnasts for each event in the state are chosen to compete. However, for now, the girls are focusing on competing against Framingham on Thursday, February 6, and the Bay State Conference Meet on Saturday, February 8 as they look to demonstrate the continued improvement ofthe gymnastics program under Coach Kady Sullivan.