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High School Gymnastics

Lack of state gymnastics events only thing keeping Mansfield senior Erin Hurley from meeting her goals

Erin Hurley has helped propel the Mansfield girls' gymnastics to great heights in four varsity seasons.
Erin Hurley has helped propel the Mansfield girls' gymnastics to great heights in four varsity seasons.John Cheng

The Hurley family usually spends its winter months on ice rinks.

The youngest member of the family, Erin, was encouraged to follow the skate strides of her father, Dan, a former player at Stonehill College, and her three brothers, Thomas, Bryan, and Kyle, all key cogs over the last decade for the Mansfield High boys’ hockey squad. However, Erin’s hockey career didn’t exactly materialize like the Hurleys expected.

“They tried to get me to play hockey, but I’d rather do gymnastics,” said Hurley with a laugh.

Hockey’s loss was gymnastics’ gain.

She may not like ice at her feet, but the Mansfield senior has ice in her veins and will go into the record books as one of the best gymnasts in school history.

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During her four years, Hurley has led the Hornets to two second-place finishes at the state championships and two South Sectional titles. During Hurley’s career, she has led Mansfield to uneven bars dominance, with the team finishing first on bars at 2018 and 2019 states and second in 2020.

Individually, she has finished as high as third and no lower than fifth at the State Individual Championships. She won the South Sectional all-around title as a freshman, and last year earned the Hockomock League all-around title. She holds Mansfield records on the vault and uneven bars. On the club level, she is a Level 10 gymnast out of Metro South Gymnastics Academy in Canton under the coaching of Chad and Laura Buczek.

The second-place finish at states during her sophomore year showed Hurley both what she and her team were capable of. They battled South Shore rival Bridgewater-Raynham/West Bridgewater all season, with the Hornets coming out ahead at the South Sectional. Going into the final rotation, the teams were neck and neck again, this time for second place. Hurley was determined.

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“We ended on uneven bars, and I was last,” said Hurley. “We had lost to [Bridgewater-Raynham/West Bridgewater] at states the year before, and we were always battling them.”

With the pressure on, Hurley didn’t just hit her routine — she won the apparatus title with a 9.8, and Mansfield won bars with a team score of 37.850 and clinched second place by .075 points.

The 2019 state championships are just one example of Hurley’s competitive nature. Talk to a Eastern Massachusetts coach about gymnasts on other teams that they have their eyes on, and odds are very good that they refer to Hurley. Especially in the postseason, she has been not just a consistent force, but a gymnast who could block out anything going on around her. If a teammate before her falls or has a misstep, Hurley rarely lets it affect her routine.

“I’m a very competitive person and I am very self-motivated,” said Hurley. “I have very high standards for myself. I practice five days a week working on the little things, because I know those are the things that matter.”

Hurley’s work ethic is definitely noticed by her coaches.

“Erin has been the hardest worker from Day 1,” said Hornets coach Nicole Manna. “She does anything that’s asked of her and more.”

While Hurley’s uneven bars routines have always been ones to watch, thanks to her excellent pirouette overshoot, her vault performances have become must-sees, as well. She now completes a layout Yurchenko, which regularly scores above a 9.5. During a Jan. 13 meet against Canton, Hurley earned a 9.8 in the vault, one of the highest scores in Eastern Massachusetts this season.

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Hurley was looking forward to one last chance for an elusive state individual championship or another South Sectional title. But with the MIAA and Coaches Association canceling their winter championships slate, Hurley will go without that last chance to claim the big titles. It’s disappointing, but Hurley has turned her steely resolve toward the team’s existing Hockomock League slate.

“It’s just my last season, so I really miss the larger meets,” said Hurley, who is unsure if her gymnastics career will continue in college. “But the smaller meets against the towns around me are still important.”

When the rest of the league lines up to compete against Hurley, they know they are facing a gymnast that never backs down — and it’s something that Mansfield will miss once she graduates.

“She has been a solid anchor to this team since her freshman year,” said Manna. “She is absolutely an amazing role model, peer, and student-athlete.”