The Winthrop/Lynn English girls gymnastics team put on a strong performance at Saturday’s Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League meet held Saturday at the Yellow Jackets facility in Middleton.
Eight Lady Viking competed in the meet on one event each. Kayla Knight took a fifth place on floor and was a conference all star, a selection that was based on scores all season.
Other strong individual efforts were turned in by Jade Santangelo, who took a third place on uneven bars; Jessica Fahey, who took fifth on uneven bars; and Daria Millerick, who took third on beam.
In the Senior Meet on Sunday at the Yellow Jackets gym, the team’s three seniors had a fine meet. "The meet is set up as a final farewell to the seniors and gives the national team coaches a chance to watch potential candidates for the national championship team competing in May in Ft Myers Florida," said WHS head coach Pete Gobiel. "Our whole team stood by our seniors and cheered each routine. Winthrop/Lynn English was one of the only teams that every member came to support their fellow teammates, which was a true testament to this year’s outstanding season."
Gobiel attended the seeding meeting at the MIAA office in Franklin on Tues. "Our team did awesome," reported Gobiel. Kayla Knight placed in the all around competition, making States on all four events. Jade Santangelo and Jessica Fahey will compete on uneven bars, as will Daria Millerick on the balance beam. Danika Dell’Anno qualified on the floor exercise. Jade and Danika both made it in the vault.
"About 100 teams in the state, with approximately 1500 gymnasts, try to qualify for this meet," said Gobiel. "This was the strongest showing ever by any Winthrop team."
In addition, the Winthrop/Lynn team is seeded fourth in the North Sectional championship meet, which also was the best qualifying place ever attained by any previous Winthrop team. Twelve of the top teams out of the North Section (out of roughly 45 teams altogether) will compete at the same time on February 20 at Hudson High School. Four of the top 12 teams will move on to states. Then four teams out of 12 from the South Section will join them to see who will be the state team champion.
This year for the first time ever in the country, the top eight Massachusetts teams will compete on the same type of podium that the top gymnasts in the world compete on. Because of strong national ties to USA gymnastics, the eight high school teams are competing at the DCU Center on March 3, three days before the Tyson Cup, an Olympic caliber meet at the same location. The equipment is all set up on a four foot platform so the fans can see all the action.
"Not many national caliber gymnasts can say they competed on a podium in their entire careers," said Gobiel. "But like you’ve heard from any coach in any sport during any championships, you need to concentrate on your next meet, game, or contest. So our focus will be the North Sectional meet February 20. The next two weeks we will train harder than we have all season, cleaning up any small problems we might have. It will be quite a different winter vacation for our team next week!"