It seems that just about everybody who pays attention to New Hampshire high school girls’ gymnastics expected the Pinkerton Academy squad to claim its third state title in a row at the state championship meet at Londonderry High Saturday, Feb. 13.
However, after losing twice to the undefeated Lady Astros during the 2015-16 regular season, the host LHS Lady Lancers came up with excellent performances in the final event of the day – the floor exercise – and bested Pinkerton by the smallest of margins to claim just the second state championship in program history.
Londonderry finished with a team tally of 137.8 with Pinkerton ending up with a 137.75, giving the host LHS crew the crown by mere percentage points. Bishop Guertin took third place with a score of 123.025
The Lady Astros, who came into the title meet having won the last two state championships and five of the last six, rolled into the floor exercise with a modest lead of 101.425-100.85 over Londonderry after tallying the most team points in the vaulting and on the balance beam and tying with the Lady Lancers for the top score on the uneven bars.
But the hosts had Jill McIntire win the floor exercise with a new LHS program record of 9.4, her teammate Mira Kutney finish second with a 9.350, and Suzie Moore snag sixth with a 9.125.
Pinkerton veteran standout Julianna Corsetto finished fifth overall with her mark of 9.175, but Londonderry ended up taking the state team title on the strength of its overall floor performances.
“It came down to a toe point, which makes it pretty frustrating,” said PA coach Chelsie Burland.
The Lady Astros and Londonderry will still face off once more this season, on March 12 at Dracut (Mass.) High School at the New England Championship Meet.
Along with her fifth place on floor, the Lady Astros had stalwart Corsetto register a second place on the balance beam (9.000) and a fourth in the all-around (34.975).
Pinkerton also received a second place from Michelle George on the vault (tied at 9.100), a third place finish from Elizabeth Bilideau on the uneven bars (8.250), a fourth from Maddy Croteau on vault (tied at 9.000), a fifth from Emily Connors on the bars (7.950), and sixths from Ashlee Loeffler in the all-around (tied at 33.575) and Chloe Abreu on the balance beam (8.7).
Caption: Pinkerton junior Michelle George took second on vault with a score of 9.1 during Saturday’s state competition. Photo by Chris Paul