Glastonbury High School gymnasts climbing to top

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Feb. 10, 2011
Melanie Sabia performs a flip during her beam routine vs. South Windsor. Photos by Steve Smith.
Melanie Sabia performs a flip during her beam routine vs. South Windsor. Photos by Steve Smith.

With a short season shortened further by snow cancellations, Glastonbury High School gymnastics coach Leslie McInerney is optimistic about her team, but said she hasn't been able to accurately gauge some of their progress yet.

“We’re doing really well,” McInerney said, after her team scored a 142 in the meet versus South Windsor on Feb. 4. “That’s just above our [state-leading] average of 141.6, and we’re still not hitting routines.”

McInerney said that her team had beaten Conrad on Feb. 8 with a score of 141.4, which is on par with their average of 141.56 after five meets.

In that match, McInerney said, the team could have done better, but had a few falls, which lowered their score.

“I had two fall on the beam,” she said, “and one on the floor. Normally, that could be another 10 points counted in.”

Sophomores Amanda Scansion and Lauren McCormick, and freshmen Chloe Brown and Melanie Sabina are the team’s top gymnasts. The first three are ranked in the top 15 in the state as individuals.

Sabina is returning from an injury suffered before the season, but is cleared for full participation.

“She's back on everything except for vault,” McInerney said, adding that Sabina scored very well on the bars versus Conrad.

“These are pretty much my all-arounders,” McInerney said. “Any or all of them should be in the state opens.”

The state individual open is on March 5, but with all of the postponed meets, many schools still have yet to meet the minimum number of scores required to determine individual qualifying.

“We've had two meets snowed-out,” McInerney said, “so we're kind of behind the 8-ball.”

Normally, the team practices two hours per day, and many of the gymnasts belong to private clubs and practice on their own, year round.

Most of the early part of the season is spent on strength and conditioning, and then skills work is added after about two weeks of practice. But, since the season begins in January and ends in March, time is of the essence to hone those skills.

“By the time you get in and get started, you really need to work on your routines,” McInerney said, “and since the rules are different in high school than they are for kids who have been competing in other club levels, we have to make some changes here and there.”

The routines take time, as well, since the coaches push each gymnast to achieve certain requirements on each station – vault, bars, floor and beam.

“It's hard for the girls that do it all, because they don't have a lot of time to work on each one,” McInerney said.

At press time, the team was looking forward to its last conference meet versus Southington on Feb. 16. Both teams were undefeated before their match-up.

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