The expectation going into the Martin Luther King Day meet between the defending state champion Londonderry High Lady Lancers and the Pinkerton Academy Lady Astros at the Eclipse Training Center in Manchester this past Monday the 16th was that the winning team would rise to the top spot by perhaps only a single point or two over its arch-rival. But that wound up not being the case.
The Lady Astros – who have no trouble at all remembering that they lost the state title by mere percentage points to the host Lady Lancers at LHS earlier this calendar year – celebrated their senior day by surpassing their record team score of 140 from last week by collecting a 140.75 in romping to the victory over second place Londonderry (132.85) and four other squads.
Senior star Julianna Corsetto, who was missing from the Pinkerton squad’s big performance a week earlier due to illness, had a strong day in winning on balance beam (9.25), floor exercise (9.25), uneven bars in a four-way tie for the top spot which included her teammate Ashlee Loeffler (8.3), and the all-around (36).
“We had some mistakes here and there, especially on bars and beam. But we had good rotations on vault and floor, and this is still a work in progress,” said PA coach Chelsie Burland.
And coach Burland was more than a little pumped to have her charges surpass their 140 score of a week before.
“We were so excited to score a 140, and to come out and top it on senior day does a lot for our confidence.”
The defending state champs from LHS had quite a few reasons to be pleased with their efforts as well, and standouts Mira Kutney and Cassidy Williams sat at the top of the list for coach Heather Tuden.
Kutney was a part of that four-way tie for first place on the bars, and Williams claimed second in that event (8.25) and third overall in the all-around (33.65).
“Overall it was a good effort,” said Tuden. “We struggled a little on bars because they have different settings than we’re used to, but we stepped it up on beam. Like I tell my girls, every single meet is a practice leading toward the state meet.”
Top scorers for the Lancers were: on Vault, Cassidy Williams, Croteau, Suzie Moore, and Taylor MacKenzie; on Bars, Williams, Croteau, Kutney and Seana Kelley; on Beam, Chelsea Pinet, Williams, Croteau and Kutney; and on Floor, Williams, Croteau, Kutney and Moore.
Along with the noteworthy heroics of senior stalwart Corsetto, the Pinkerton crew – which has been holding its home meets at the Eclipse Training Center while its own gymnastics floor undergoes repairs – got the aforementioned strong performances from Loeffler (first on bars, second on beam) as well as productive work from Michelle George with a first on bars (9.3), Sophia Viger (third on vault and floor), Anya Comeau (third on bars), Emily Connors (third on beam), and Chloe Abreu (second on floor).
The other competing teams were from Salem, Spaulding of Rochester, Exeter, and Alvirne of Hudson.
The Londonderry contingent returns to action on Wednesday the 25th in a meet hosted by Nashua North at the Absolute Gymnastics Academy in Tyngsborough, Mass.