Feb. 17, 2011By Mal Boright
With a perfect 7-0 regular season mark as its passport, the Champlain Valley Union High School gymnastics team will be the top seed Saturday when the state championship competition gets underway (2 p.m.) at Essex High School.
“The girls are very excited,” first year coach Carly O’Brien Rivard said.
“They are confident but perhaps a little nervous about tumbling,” she added, noting that the foam floor at Essex can make a difference in tumbling moves during floor exercise.
However, most of the Redhawks have previously been in title competition in Essex. Last year CVU got nicked by injuries and a powerful Essex team captured its fifth straight Division 1 crown.
Veteran Ashley Bachand, freshman Megan Nick, Madison Bourdeau, and all-around performer Sarah Kinsley lead this year’s healthy squad.
Grace Carey is recuperating from an ankle injury but has the green light for two events.
Five team members enter each event with the top four scores counting. Rivard believes that Essex and South Burlington are serious competitors for the title. The Redhawks defeated both in separate meets this winter.
Rivard is no stranger to state championship meets. She competed quite well while a student at Rice Memorial before graduating in 1995.
“Back then the championships were held at the University of Vermont,” she recalled.
Rivard has family help with the task of running the team. Her sister Jillian is an assistant coach while her mom, Shelly O’Brien, a former state meet director, keeps score.