Off Night Leaves Lancer Gymnasts Looking Up at Astros

Some nights, everything just seems to fall into place for a gymnastics team in every event. Alas, this past Monday night wasn’t one of those occasions for coach Heather Lennon’s Londonderry High School squad.

A win over the Lancers – and four other opponents as well – at LHS that evening helped the defending state champion Pinkerton Academy girls’ gymnastics squad drive toward maintaining its school’s stranglehold on the Ball Family Trophy for a seventh straight year.

Pinkerton and Londonderry have been playing for the Ball Trophy during winter sports seasons since the early 1990’s. And the gymnastics victory gave the academy its sixth win over LHS varsity teams this winter. And with just four events yet to be completed, that meant that Londonderry had its back flat up against the proverbial wall with a 6-1 Ball Trophy deficit.

The PA gymnastics squad’s win – tallied by virtue of a 136.25-130.1 outscore of the host Lancers on Monday evening – gave Pinkerton the victory in that sport to go along with earlier ones in boys’ and girls’ skiing, boys’ and girls’ track and field, and boys’ swimming. Londonderry’s lone success had been in girls’ swimming.

The schools’ wrestling teams met up at Londonderry High on Wednesday Jan. 24 – after Nutfield Publishing press time – and the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are slated to face off in the LHS gym in a double-header on Friday night. Pinkerton won the first ice hockey meeting with an overtime victory at The Ice Den in Hooksett recently, but they are slated to play on the Lancers’ home ice at The Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett this Saturday and athletic directors Brian O’Reilly of Pinkerton and Howard Sobolov of Londonderry had yet to determine which of those two contests would count in the Ball series at press time.

In its gymnastics victory, Pinkerton received top performances from Sophia Viger on vault (first with a score of 34.0), the uneven bars (tied for second with teammate Emily Connors and Lady Lancer Maddie Croteau with an 8.0), and the balance beam (third, 8.9), Zoe Demers on the uneven bars (first, 8.4) and the balance beam (tied for first with a Raymond athlete, 9.1), Ashley McKinnon on vault (second, 9.1), Ashley Loeffler on beam (second, 9.05), and Connors in the floor exercise (third, 8.6).

Croteau was a true star for her Lancers. Along with the second on bars, she was tops in the all-around (34.35), second on floor (8.75), and third on vault (9.0). Her teammate Mira Kutney contributed a tie for third on the bars with a score of 7.7.

“Every season has one meet where things just don’t come together, and that was this meet,” lamented coach Lennon. “It could be a number of reasons, some of which include, it’s that time of season where physical fatigue sets in, finals week, or nerves. The important lessons are the ones we take out of this meet and apply them to states in three weeks.”

Following that meet the Lady Lancers stepped into a lengthy break from competition which ends on the final day of January with another multi-team home meet. That event will close out the Londonderry squad’s 2017-18 regular season.

But in the wake of the defeat to PA, the Lady Lancers were certainly left feeling that a rematch in the state title meet could go their way.

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