NEWTON — Four weeks ago, Jake Forbes put his chances at competing at his final MIAA state championship at about one percent.
Four weeks later, Newton coach Bill Martin stood praising the senior as the “difference-maker” moments after the dominant boys’ gymnastics co-op program took it’s sixth-consecutive state title, edging out Attleboro, 192.90 points to 181.55, on Friday at Newton North High School.
Forbes has battled a stress fracture in his left shoulder all season, and only recently returned to action in a season where Newton had more struggles with depth than in previous campaigns.
Forbes finished fourth in the all-around, a spot down from his third-place finish last season, but put forth impressive outings in the high bar (8.9) and floor exercise (8.7), finishing second in each.
“To me, it was just doing my job,” Forbes said, juggling hardware in both hands. “Being my last state championship, everything went through my head . . . I was just pulling strength from my teammates, my coaches, my family. The group from freshman year to my senior has changed completely, but it’s still a group of guys with a common goal. Each year has been different, but this year has been the toughest.”
Newton led the scoring in all but one event, with Attleboro edging out the champs, 28.55-28.1 in the rings.
“I’m happy, because we’re thin,” Martin said. “If we had someone fall or a couple of guys fall, we’re in trouble. We don’t have the fifth or sixth guy to make up for it. So, they all had to come up, and they all came up great.
Jonah Henderson, who joined the team after years of competing as a Level 10 gymnast out of the New England Academy of Gymnastics in Marlborough, stormed to an all-around title.
He topped his teammate Matthew Hassan, 52.4-50.05, who defended his own title in the floor exercise with a 9.5. Attleboro’s Andrae Butler, who finished second in the all-around last year, was third with a 49.5, taking top place in the vault with a 9.7.
“I was very happy with my performance. I decided to keep things cleans and more simple just so I could stick more and do better,” said Henderson, who locked up the all-around title with his final, and favorite, event in the rings. “It was pretty satisfying, just because it’s always satisfying to stick it.”
Burlington (165.2), Braintree (153.75), and Lowell (139.25) rounded out the team standings.
Michael McMahon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.