Pelham Pythons Girls Gymnastics '08-'09

Sat, Feb 21, 2009 09:00 AM @ Neutral Location
Team Final
Salem 136
Pinkerton 132
Londonderry 123
Pelham 103

Three-Peat for Salem

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Saturday, February, 21 By Conor Clancy

SALEM, N.H. — Flanked on all sides by its schools many championship banners, the Salem High School gymnastics team made sure it would raise another to the ceiling as it won its third consecutive and 15th overall State championship in its home gym.

“It feels great,” said Salem head coach Ginnie LaVallo. “The girls did everything they could and worked so hard to get here.”

Salem dominated almost every aspect of the meet, taking first place finishes in the vault, uneven bars, and floor exercise while placing second on the beam. The Blue Devils looked extremely comfortable competing in their own gym and were cheered on by a large hometown crowd.

 Taking the top spot on the podium again, Salem finished the day with a score of 136.2. Pinkerton, who finished 10th at last years meet, came in second with 132.625 points and Manchester Central rounded out the top three with 130.625 points. Overall Salem put six girls in the top 50 of the all-around, better than any other team.

“The girls really worked to increase their difficulty on the routines,” explained LaVallo. “Just because you’ve won in the past doesn’t mean you can just sit back and expect the same.”

One Blue Devil who benefited from the hard work was senior cocaptain Leeann Vadala. Vadala placed sixth or better in all four events including a first place finish in the bars, scoring a 9.4. By meets end Vadala had scored 35.875 points, finishing in second place in the all-around competition just 0.325 points shy of first place winner Kaitlyn O’Brien of Spaulding.

“It good to finish with a bang,” said Vadala, who is fourth in a long line of sisters who excelled in gymnastics for LaVallo.

“All four sisters were captains and it’s going to be very strange not to have a Vadala around next year,” said LaVallo. “Leeann learned from [her sisters] how to be competitive and she has that mind set. All you need to do is look to her and she delivers, they all did.”

Also pacing Salem was junior Shireen Kirata who placed fourth in the vault, scoring 9.025 and also performed well in the bars. Kirata joined Vadala in the top ten of the all-around, coming in seventh place overall. According to LaVallo had senior cocaptain Jessica Maffeo not come down with mono a few weeks ago, Kirata would probably not have even competed in the vault.

“That’s what makes this team so special, the depth. We could have five or maybe even six girls compete for the all-around. It’s a sacrifice that they have all made for the team.”

Other standout individual performances included Pelhams Chelsea I’Anson, who claimed first place in the beam with a 9.2 and finished in seventh place in the all-around. Pinkerton freshman Courtney Thompson also turned heads with a fourth place finish in the all-around with strong performances in the vault and beam.

The three-peat is the longest streak for Salem since winning four straight between 1990 through 1993. When asked if a fourth consecutive championship was coming next season LaVallo smiled.

“The league is very competitive right and you never know who’s going to get better in between seasons. Pinkerton looked great today and with Thompson only a freshman they will be around for a while so you never know.”


Game Statistics:

Team scores: Salem 136.2, Pinkerton 132.625, Londonderry 123.775, Pelham 103. 225 

Area placers:

Vault: 4. Shireen Kirata (Salem) 9.025 , 6. Leeann Vadala (Salem) 8.9 , 6. Courtney Thompson (Pinkerton) 8.9 ; Bars: 1. Leeann Vadala (Salem) 9.4 , 2. Courtney Thompson (Pinkerton) 9.0 , 6. Jamie Maffeo (Salem) 8.45 ; Beam: 1. Chelsea I'Anson (Pelham) 9.2 , 5. Courtey Thompson (Pinkerton) 8.65 , 6. Leeann Vadala (Salem) 8.55 ; Floor: 5. Leeann Vadala (Salem) 9.025  ; All-around:  2. Leeann Vadala (Salem) 35.875 , 4. Courtney Thompson (Pinkerton) 35.3 

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