After the exceptional feeling of winning a state championship two winters ago, the Londonderry High gymnastics squad is putting its efforts into a return to the top after having to settle for runner-up honors at the end of last season.
Coach Heather Lennon – herself a former LHS gymnast who was on a state title-winning squad – saw her 2016-17 Lancer contingent go a superb 22-1 during the regular season before falling just a bit short of a championship repeat to the rival Pinkerton Academy Astros in the state meet.
The team of athletes returning with Lennon for the 2017-18 campaign is on the small side where numbers are concerned, but there’s certainly no shortage of talent.
Among the key returnees are senior Mira Kutney (on uneven bars and balance beam), juniors Suzie Moore (vault, beam, and floor exercise) and Maddie Croteau (an all-around competitor), and sophomore Sean Kelly (bars).
Other returnees who will look to excel for the Lancers include seniors Courtney Baharian (a beam competitor returning from injuries), Tyla Kelley (beam and vault), and Gianna DelViscovo (vault, beam, and floor), junior Tara Nigro (bars), and sophomores Marissa McKay (floor and beam) and Janiah Bergendahl (beam and floor).
And sitting at the top of Lennon’s list of promising newcomers are freshmen Ashley Griffin and Sophie Hagymas.
“We are hoping Ashley will step up and fill one of our all-around positions,” said the coach. “She is a strong competitor and very motivated.
And of Hagymas, coach Lennon said, “She is another talented gymnast who can do all events. She is very clean with elegant lines within her gymnastics. We have very high hopes for our two freshmen this year.”
When asked to outline her team’s keys to success this winter, Lennon was her usual well-spoken self in stating, “Coming together as a team and peaking at the right time are keys. We have a small team this year, so we are going to need everyone to contribute. For as much as gymnastics is an individual sport, it’s the act of working together as a team that wins meets. Throughout the season the girls work hard on perfecting their routines, but it’s having all the girls hit at the same time that wins states.”
The Lady Lancers get their new campaign officially rolling next Friday, Dec. 15, with a huge home meet in which they’ll host some seven opposing teams. Rest assured they’ll try to make a statement right away.