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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Valentine's Day with the girls

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day with the girls

It's not the most romantic way to spend Valentine's Day, but Reda agreed to go to the Section II Gymnastics Championships at Shaker High this afternoon anyway.

Looking at my notebook, this is at least my fourth straight championship meet and there shouldn't be any doubts that Saratoga is expected to come out on top.

The Blue Streaks have 15 competitors for the all-around scoring along with senior Breanne Clark and junior Heather Markus are looking to qualify for the state meet again in the all-around.

I'm once again looking to campaign for numbers on the back of the gymnasts leotards to make it easier for fans, family, photographers and of course, me.

Things are moving along at a 45 minute per apparatus with five rotations on the day. It'll be a late night, but its worth it for the girls.

Scores to follow.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

When all the girls had tumbled, dismounted, flipped and landed, the Saratoga Springs girls gymnastics teams rolled sevens.

The Blue Streaks won their seventh consecutive Section II title and Saratoga Springs junior Heather Markus improved her scores in each event from her third-place finish last year at the meet, earning the All-Around title for the Blue Streaks with a score of 35.40 points. She became the seventh Blue Streak gymnast to earn the all-around crown.

“At the beginning of the year I was hoping for a good season, but you never know what is going to come up,” Markus said.

Markus improved from a third-place finish last year with a score of 34.40 to this year’s title with 35.40 points. Her biggest improvement came in the floor exercise, moving her score up from 8.70 last year to 9.350 on Thursday.

“I upgraded each one of my (tumbling) passes and I changed the music,” Markus said. “I knew I could do the new passes, I just had to put them in my routine. My music, I had to change, I didn’t like it.”

Markus captured the top spot in three of the four events on Thursday, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise.

Shenendehowa freshman Kylee Teague was close behind in second with 34.90 points and Saratoga Springs senior Breanne Clark got the best Valentine’s Day gift she could ask for, third place all-around with 34.475 points and another trip to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Gymnastics Championships March 1.

Markus spent some time consoling Clark after the meet before the official scores were announced. The senior wasn’t aware that she was an all-around qualifier.

“My mom and dad said told me they didn’t think I made it,” Clark said after hearing the news that she qualified. “I’m so happy, it’s all I wanted, to go as an all-around my senior year. I had to.”

Unlike Markus, Clark struggled to match the same scores she hit last year to secure second place in the all-around and automatically advance in all four disciplines to the state meet.

“I had a terrible meet, this was my worst all year,” Clark said. “I thought I would go in three events and that’s great, but to make it as the second place all-around last year and then to make it in three events. I’m a senior, I have to go out with a bang.”

Part of that pressure came from the underclassmen, including Plainsmen freshman Teague, who will make her second trip to the state meet, but her first as an all-around competitor.

“My goal was just to make it,” Teague said. “The scoring is a lot harder at sectionals with the judges.”

Two years ago Teague advanced in the uneven bars and spent all of her time perfecting her one routine. This year she’ll have to spread out her time during practices, a welcome change for her.

“I’ll just focus on cleaning up my routines,” Teague said. “When I just went for bars I spent the entire practice on bars and it really ripped up my hands.”

The all-around trio will be joined by the top three finishers in each event, making up the Section II squad that will compete at Carmel High School March 1.

Bethlehem’s Rachael Forando, Chandler Smith, Guilderland’s Catalena Diamente, Kristie Russell, Alexa Patnaude, Shaker’s Amber Finch along with Saratoga’s Alyssa Carlson, Rachel Vanearden, Rema Bianco will round out the Section II team.

Section II gymnastics championships
Team scores

1. Saratoga 169.00 2. Guilderland 158.025 3. Bethlehem 157.50 4. Shenendehowa 157.375 5. Shaker 154.70.

All around
1. Heather Markus (SS) 35.40 2. Kylee Teague (SHEN) 34.90 3. Breanne Clark (SS) 34.475 4. Rachael Forando (BC) 33.625 5. Alexa Panaude (G) 33.40.

Local finishers:

Rema Bianco (V) 8.325 (B) 7.45 (U) 8.225 (F) 8.575 (AA) 32.575, Alyssa Carlson (V) 8.250 (B) 7.90 (U) 7.325 (F) 8.85 (AA) 32.325, Breanne Clark (V) 8.450 (B) 8.85 (U) 8.025 (F) 9.15 (AA) 34.475, Tessy Dirado (V) 8.050 (B) 7.225 (U) 6.925 (F) 8.15 (AA) 30.350, Lindsey Hartmann (V) 7.950 (B) 7.70 (U) 7.55 (F) 8.175 (AA) 31.375, Jess Kopelow (V) 7.675 (B) 8.30 (U) 6.50 (F) 7.10 (AA) 29.575, Heather Markus (V) 8.650 (B) 8.70 (U) 8.70 (F) 9.35 (AA) 35.400, Maddie O’Malley (V) 7.80 (B) 7.625 (U) 6.70 (F) 7.35 (AA) 29.475, Aubrey Reardon (V) 7.625 (B) 8.475 (U) 7.20 (F) 8.60 (AA) 31.900, Chrissy Shaffer (V) 8.075 (B) 7.65 (U) 6.350 (F) 8.35 (AA) 30.425, Seina Shirakura (V) 8.075 (B) 7.85 (U) 7.20 (F) 8.45 (AA) 31.575, Sarah Stacey (V) 7.975 (B) 7.125 (U) 6.325 (F) 7.20 (AA) 28.675, Rachel VanEardon (V) 8.525 (B) 7.975 (U) 7.40 (F) 8.65 (AA) 32.550.

Abby Lee (V) 7.50 (B) 5.55, Rachel Murphy (V) 7.825, Grace Barkhuff (V) 7.95 (B) 8.125 (F) 7.825, Gretchen Barkhuff (U) 5.55 (F) 7.35, Courtney Getman (V) 7.80 (B) 7.40 (U) 6.150 (F) 7.15 (AA), Sam Cook (V) 8.00 (B) 7.00 (U) 5.45 (F) 7.65 (AA) 28.10, Bethany Meys (V) 8.25 (B) 8.25 (U) 6.575 (F) 8.550 (AA) 31.625, Tori Tepedino (V) 8.10 (B) 8.50 (U) 7.20 (F) 8.40 (AA) 32.20, Kylee Teague (V) 8.40 (B) 8.70 (U) 8.575 (F) 9.225 (AA) 34.90.

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