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Sports

Girls' Gymnastics sectionals

Andover takes North title

Algonquin earns crown in South

Balance was the operative word for the Andover gymnastics team yesterday. An already-deep team came through in the toughest event, the balance beam, to capture the North Sectional title at Hudson High School, posting an overall score of 143.550.

“We had an all-around team performance today from top to bottom and I think that’s why we did so well,’’ said Andover co-head coach Kristen Vadala.

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The Golden Warriors made their statement on the first rotation as four girls posted scores of 9.0 or better, giving them a team score of 37.225 on the balance beam.

“That was our highest beam score of this season, and probably ever as coaches,’’ said Tracy Vadala, Andover’s other co-head coach.

Courtney Carver posted a 9.5, while Jessie Livingston was close behind with a 9.4. Emily Lowenstein (9.3) and Jennifer Coneeny (9.0) rounded out the quartet.

“We started off on the beam so well, we were pretty locked in from there, so we didn’t have a lot of pressure, which was nice,’’ said Kristen Vadala.

No other team scored better than Andover’s beam score in any other event and it was apparent early the Golden Warriors were the team to beat.

Andover’s second-place finishes on the uneven bars, vault, and floor exercise were too difficult for anyone else to overcome.

Both coaches attributed the team’s success to good starts from the bottom half of the team executing their routines.

“Once the kids on the bottom do so well, it takes the pressure off the kids on top who are doing a little more difficult skills,” said Kristen Vadala.

Beverly (141.575) gave a strong showing on the vault, posting a 37.225 in its final rotation to take second in the meet and clinch a spot in the state meet.

The Panthers also took home the top overall score in the uneven bars (34.975).

Top-seeded Chelmsford was shorthanded, and finished third thanks to a first-place finish on the floor exercise, and a total score of 139.125.

Westford Academy finished fourth (138.425) to clinch the sectional’s final berth in next week’s state meet at Shrewsbury High.

Andover is confident in its ability to clinch a state title, but will face stiff competition.

“We’re very excited,’’ said Tracy Vadala. “We’re going into it strong.’’

South

Defending state champion Algonquin is headed back to the big show after taking home the victory in the South Sectional, also held at Hudson High.

The Tomahawks posted a meet-high 36.625 on floor in the final rotation to take the championship with an overall score of 142.875.

“We had a rough meet for us,’’ said Algonquin coach Amelia Davis.

“We had some uncharacteristic falls and stumbles. Today was definitely a battle.’’

Less than 1 point separated Algonquin from Wellesley, which finished with 141.900. Barnstable came in third (141.775) and Mansfield fourth (141.675).

Medfield just missed a trip to states, finishing fifth with 141.075.

Algonquin’s strongest event was the floor, but the Tomahawks were consistent across the board with a 35.850 on vault, a 35.650 on beam, and a 34.750 on bars.

“There was a lot of pressure on us today because we are defending state champs, so the whole making it to states just rests on our performance today [is tough],’’ Davis said.

“I think now that we have made it there and have the opportunity to defend our title, we just have to get back in the gym and clean some things up.’’

Mansfield had a 36.175 on beam. Mansfield coach Nicole Longo said beam is always her team’s strongest event, and helped lift it into the finals.

“I think because we were seeded fifth and came in fourth, the kids are just really excited,’’ said Longo. “So anything from here on out is just an added bonus for them.’’

After three rotations, Wellesley led with a 107.475 and Mansfield was a close second with 106.5.

Less than a half-point separated the second- through fifth-place teams, with fifth-place Medfield at 106.1.

Wellesley began the night on bars, which coach Sage Orr said is their strongest event.

“It’s really good for getting our momentum going, starting on our strongest event,’’ Orr said. “That momentum and energy really carried us through.’’

Nauset posted the night’s highest score on vault with a 36.550, with Wellesley tops in bars (36.025), Mansfield in beam (36.175), and Algonquin in floor (36.625).

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