CVU gymnasts fall just short of state title

March 1, 2012

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


CVU’s Grace Carey goes through her beam routine. The ‘Hawks won the event but finished second overall to seven-time champion Essex. (Observer photo by Trey Peiffer)

There were several successes for the Champlain Valley Union High gymnastics team Saturday (Feb. 25) at the annual state championship meet at Essex High School.

Senior Ashley Bachand was the meet’s top performer on the bars and sophomore Megan Nick, with her left arm in a cast, won the floor exercise with an awesome 9.45 score.

But despite team victories in three of four events, the Redhawks bowed to now seven-time champion Essex by a razor-thin 139.35 to 139.15 overall margin.

“It’s frustrating,” said CVU coach Carly Rivard, whose team lost to the Hornets last year after having nipped the Hornets in their regular season match.

Two weeks ago, Essex nipped the Redhawks 141.45 to 140.5 in their final regular season meet.

Saturday, the Redhawks’ first event of the day was critical. They did not score high on the vault (33.75) and Essex later hit 35.8 to take a two-point lead.

‘They (Essex) had a good day on the vault,” said Bachand who tied for sixth, the only Redhawks to break into the top eight.

“I thought we performed well but just did not score well,” Rivard said after CVU finished vaulting.

The Redhawks’ gymnastics team huddles for a team photo while it waits for the meet results. (Observer photo by Steven Frank)

The balance beam, which Rivard said could be a game changer for either team, went CVU’s way as the Redhawks shrugged off beam difficulties (all fell) against Essex in their previous meeting.

Bachand took second (9.15), Nick third (9.0) and Sarah Kinsley sixth for a 33.6 to 32.67 team edge over the Hornets and its starry freshman, all-around victor Kira Tanghe and winner on the beam (9.35).

Junior Madison Bourdeau set a solid example for the Redhawks with a clean, no fall performance in leading off for her team.

“It felt good. This is my first real meet in some time,” said Bourdeau, coming off a back injury.

By the time the Redhawks went into the final event, floor exercise, they were trailing Essex by just three-quarters of a point.

With skillful somersaults, front flips and back flips, Nick earned the victory with Bachand fourth at 9.2, followed by Kinsley tied for sixth and Bourdeau eighth.

Essex put two in the top eight, led by Tanghe’s second-place finish (9.4).

The cast on an arm fracture cost Nick a shot at going for the all-around, but did not seem to hinder her floor exercise or beam routines.

“I had three weeks to get ready for the states,” she said.

Tanghe nipped Bachand 36.8 to 36.15 for top all-around performer. Kinsley was eighth.

Essex coach Ashley Godin filed an inquiry on one of her team members scoring on the bars and got an adjustment.

Rivard and her team, who keep closing in on the Hornets, will be back next year. Bachand and Emma Sienkiewycz are the team’s seniors.

Nine teams and five independent individuals competed with South Burlington taking third place and Harwood capturing fourth.