TEWKSBURY — When Lizzy Debroczy heard her name called first up on the beam Monday morning, the Algonquin Regional freshman felt the butterflies start to flutter.
A former Level 10 gymnast — the highest tier of the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Program — Debroczy has been trying to rest her knees ahead of postseason competition this month and next.
In the pressure-packed all-around at Tewksbury High, she was forced to regain her rhythm in an event with no margin for error.
“I was really nervous,” Debroczy said. “The beam’s only four inches — you’re either on or off.”
Debroczy was certainly on, scoring a 9.725, allowing her to edge Masconomet Regional senior Katelyn Aylwyn , 37.975 t0 37.950, for the all-around title at the State Coaches girls’ gymnastics individual championship.
She is the first Algonquin gymnast to win the all-around title.
“For sectionals [this Saturday], we actually start on beam as well,” said first-year Algonquin coach Jordan McStay, who won an individual title for the Tomahawks as a senior five years ago.
“I looked at [Debroczy] and I was like, ‘Why don’t you think of today as a practice?’ I think that helped her a little bit. Instead of thinking, ‘Oh I need to do amazing,’ she’s like, ‘I’m just gonna get up there and do exactly what I know how to do and practice doing beam first again for Saturday.’ ”
Algonquin will host the North and South sectional meets on Saturday.
The beam was not as kind to defending champion Gracy Mowers, who also took time off to nurse an injury. The Masco sophomore earned the top score on both the vault (9.8) and floor (9.6), but a fall on the beam doomed her dreams of repeating.
For Debroczy, the beam was only the beginning of an anxious afternoon.
The 5-footer finished before most other competitors, leaving her to watch. Aylwyn eventually inched within a fraction thanks to a stellar performance on the vault.
“That was really stressful, watching her scores get higher,” Debroczy said. “It was really exciting hearing her name called second.”
The Masconomet/Lynnfield co-op had better luck in the individuals.
Emma Quirk (9.525) and Cat DiNanno (9.550) dominated on the beam and floor, respectively. Quirk placed second on the floor routine and third on the vault behind a pair of boys, Winchester’s Daniel Barsley (9.675) and Andover’s Matt Campbell (9.400), who were allowed to compete because neither school fields a boys’ program.
Maddie Doyle captured an individual title on the bars with a 9.35 for defending North champion Reading.