BY Ryan Touhey
The club gymnastics team had their spring home meet on March 31, at the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA. They competed against Penn State, Springfield, University of New Haven, and University of Connecticut.
It was the team’s final competitive setting before Nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla., from April 11–12. It was also the team’s senior meet, where they recognized the contributions of senior Bridget Nolan, senior and assistant coach Abby Bayzath and senior captain Hannah Rennie. Head coach Marissa Lauretti said that Rennie is the team’s most consistent athlete.
“Rennie shows up to everything and plays a huge part in the team doing well,” said Lauretti. “She scores either first or second in almost every meet that we go to.”
There were four events at the meet; floor, bars, vault, and beam. Sacred Heart had been familiar with some of the opposition, but not all of it.
“We’ve always competed against UConn, but we never went up against Penn State before,” said Lauretti. “UConn and Penn are very clean in their gymnastics and they don’t get a lot of point deductions, so we really had to work to get our requirements up.”
Prior to the meet, the team focused on certain aspects of their routines in order to get as close to perfection as possible. Lauretti said that they worked on getting themselves in the right form for certain events. She also said that the team aimed for smoother landings.
At the meet, the gymnasts were split up into two separate teams based on their skill sets. These teams were the Level 7 team and the Level 9 team. Both teams competed in all four events.
Rennie was a member of the Level 9 team. According to club sports, she placed third on the vault competition, second on the bars, first on the beam and second overall.
On the, Level 7 side, it was freshman Emmi Moore, sophomore Emily Petron, and junior Ali Bertolozzi, standing out.
Bertolozzi was second on vault and beam, third on bars, fourth on floor and second overall. Moore was first on beam, second on floor and second overall. Petron finished third on both vault and beam.
“I knew that my scores were going to matter more because when the judges make the overall team score, they have to take the individual athletes’ scores,” said Petron. “During the meet, I tried to tune everything out and get in my zone to make sure that I could perform the best that I could.”
In the end, the Level 7 team finished first in the team standings for the event, while the Level 9 team came in third.
“This season has been a really great one and the gymnasts motivated me to push them harder, and they got better,” said Lauretti. “This is my last season as the head coach so it’s a little bittersweet.”
Petron said that having Lauretti by her side as a source of encouragement, got as much out of her as possible during the season. After stopping gymnastics after her freshman year of high school, she returned to the sport when she entered Sacred Heart in order to get involved.
“I was skeptical because towards the end of my gymnastics career in high school, I was frustrated with the sport, and I didn’t love it as much as I used to,” said Petron. “But Marissa taught me how to love it again and she reminded me it’s not so much about the competition, it’s about having fun.”