HANOVER — The Pembroke/Silver Lake co-op team claimed the Patriot League gymnastics championship on Monday, led by Zoe Christianson’s individual wins in both beam (9.0) and floor exercise (9.05).
Pembroke/Silver Lake, which scored 134.30 points, took first place in four of the five events held at the South Shore YMCA/Gymnastics Center, with Cat Ghattas taking first on vault (9.0), and Lauren Caniff tying for top honors on parallel bars with Scituate’s Lilly Wiechert (8.0).
Marshfield (132.40) was second in the seven-team field, led by Chloe Ashmont’s win in the all-around with a score of 35.65. Hanover (129.55) was close behind in third place.
The rest of the top five in the all-around: 2) Brooke Reardon (Plymouth North/South), 34.45; 3) Ella Whitney (Hingham), 33.75; 4) Ally Whitelaw (Plymouth North/South), 33:30; 5) Kenzie Mackinaw (Pembroke/Silver Lake), 33.25.
If the strength and depth of the Pembroke/Silver Lake team was the focus of the team competition, the main story for most of the athletes was their first chance this winter to actually compete in person. Amid the pandemic, regular-season Patriot League gymnastics meets have been of the virtual variety, which means teams perform by themselves in their own gyms, and then the two coaching staffs compare their results to determine winners and rankings.
But everyone on hand Monday was enthusiastically in favor of the traditional type of meet — with all the various athletes brought together … to some degree.
In order to minimize contact and safeguard the athletes, events were staged in defined time frames, with the competitors for specific events only showing up for those events. In that way, none of the teams were totally on hand at any one time, but came through the center in smaller groups, at their assigned event times. It all seemed to work flawlessly, overseen by Hanover High Athletic Director Scott Hutchison, who also served as official scorekeeper. And the reviews were uniformly positive for the whole experience.
“We were all so happy to compete again against actual people,” said Pembroke/Silver Lake’s Ava Dorsey, shortly after competing in the all-around. “This was so much better, rather than just going against our own team. To see people you’re competing against made it so much more fun. And winning the team title is pretty awesome, too.”
Added Mackinaw, “I thought it was a lot less stressful this way, seeing and meeting the girls you’re going up against. We all tend to be supportive of each other in this sport — you want everybody to do well in their event. So I really felt like it was easier to compete here today, seeing everybody.”
“Going all virtual definitely made it a different year,” said Hanover coach Kerriann Hart. “But the girls made the best of it, and they were really excited to just have an opportunity for any kind of season. And now, they really appreciated this chance to have a league meet all together. I think they were motivated more today, seeing all the other girls.
“It was hard to just compete virtually, not seeing what else was going on. I know all of us Patriot League coaches had our little text-group going, trying to stay in touch, but it is so nice to have everyone in one place.”
On the scoreboard, Pembroke/Silver Lake jumped out to a big lead in the team totals, and not just with their four first places. Ghattas also took third on floor, while Caniff took fourth on vault. Sarah d’Entremont (fifth on vault), Sam Raleigh (third on bars, third on floor), and Summer Holmes (fifth on bars) also made valuable contributions.
“These people who scored so well for us today are generally our high scorers, and have been all year,” said Pembroke/Silver Lake coach Christy Schimmel. “We’ve seen our point scoring spread among those same people, and they’ve been pretty solid all season. We have a very talented group, so I can’t say anyone surprised me today, because we knew what they were capable of doing.”
The Pembroke/Silver lake team only has one senior, d’Entremont, so most of those standouts will be back next year. The 17 gymnasts on the team are almost equally split between the two schools (nine for Pembroke, eight for Silver Lake). More troubling for the rest of the league is the fact that eight of the winning squad’s athletes are freshmen.
“We are really looking forward to next year,” said Schimmel. “We all hope that by then, we’ll be back to normal; and the girls can move on to sectionals and then the state meets, which is what we’re missing this year.”
Hanover had four seniors among its 15 athletes, and two of them, Jordan Tandler and Emma Butzbach, did three events Monday to cap off their careers. Butzbach was fifth on floor, 10th on beam, and eighth on bars, while Tandler was sixth in floor, tied for eighth on bars, and 13th on vault.
“Senior Delanie Condon is a story all by herself,” said Hart. “She broke her hand just before the season, but she’s been out there balancing on the beam with a cast on her hand all season. We were so happy she took second place today, and she was just excited to get back and be able to compete in at least one event this year. Another big boost for us was sophomore Holly Rossi, who never did all-around before today, and yet went out and got ninth place for us — a great job.”
The 11-strong Whitman-Hanson squad boasted three seniors, two of them captains finishing up four-year careers for the Panthers. Savannah Poirier took 11th in the all-around, while Madison Scaccia was ninth on vault, 11th on beam, and 17th on floor.
“I was happy for my senior captains to finish like they did,” said Whitman-Hanson coach Alison Vance. “And I have to also cite Emma McKeon — because of people being out we had to use Emma all over the place, and today she gave us a sixth place in all-around, a terrific performance.”
Scores from Monday’s Patriot League championships:
1. Zoe Christianson (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 9.00
2. Delanie Condon (Hanover) 8.80
3. (tie) Elizabeth Schembri (Hingham) and Morgan Sullivan (Hanover) 8.50
5. Lilly Wiechert (Scituate) 8.40
1. Lauren Caniff (Pembroke/Silver Lake) and Lilly Wiechert (Scituate) 8.00
3. Sam Raleigh (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 7.90
4. Jane McNeil (Marshfield) 7.80
5. Summer Holmes (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 7.60
1. Cat Ghattas (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 9.00
2. Jane McNeil (Marshfield) 8.90
3. Lilly Wiechert (Scituate) 8.70
4. Lauren Caniff (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 8.60
5. (tie) Sarah d’Entremont (Pembroke/Silver Lake), Meghan DeRice (Hanover) and Talia Petrillo (Hingham) 8.50
1. Zoe Christianson (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 9.05
2. Tess Holloway (Marshfield) 8.75
3. (tie) Cat Ghattas (Pembroke/Silver Lake) and Sam Raleigh (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 8.70
5. Emma Butzbach (Whitman-Hanson) 8.65
1. Chloe Ashmont (Marshfield) 35.65
2. Brooke Reardon (Plymouth North/South) 34.45
3. Ella Whitney (Hingham) 33.75
4. Ally Whitelaw (Plymouth North/South) 33.30
5. Kenzie Mackinaw (Pembroke/Silver Lake) 33.25
1. Pembroke/Silver Lake 134.30
2. Marshfield 132.40
3. Hanover 129.55