Centaurs pg 1 2-7-19

There was a reason for the Woodstock Academy gymnastics team to be happy following its meet with Stonington last week.
Not only did it capture its sixth straight victory (5-0 in the Eastern Connecticut Conference), it once again cleared the 140 mark with a 143.95 effort to post the win over the Bears (131.5).
“We still are making little mistakes, but overall, I think we’re doing really well. We’ve raised our start values and are doing so much better than I think we thought we could going into the season,” said senior Lydia Taft.
There were some gaffes in the meet with the Bears for the Centaurs; a fall on the bars; a couple of falls off the beam.
The Centaurs made up for those.
“We had some silly falls and we made 140 with those falls and those falls counted. We really did a good job,” said Woodstock Academy coach Kasey Tocchio. “The atmosphere was really good in there. It was loud and it was kind of like how the (Eastern Connecticut Conference championship) will feel. They were enjoying it and I think that really helps them compete.”
The tournament season is not all that far off.
The Centaurs had one meet this week Jan. 28 against Old Lyme (the event ended too late for this edition) and will compete against the Killingly/Putnam/Tourtellotte cooperative Feb. 4 before the ECC Championship is held at Deary’s Gymnastics in Danielson at 6 p.m. Feb. 13.
The Centaurs will be seeking their 10th straight title in that event.
One plus for Woodstock Academy is the presence of senior Taft.
Dubbed “The Comeback Kid” by former Woodstock Academy head coach Robin Deary-Fillmore, Taft has recovered from back troubles which limited her to participating in just one meet last year to be one of the leaders of the team this season.
“I’m really happy to be back. I’m pleased with how I’m doing. I think I’m doing better than expected. It was hard to come back, but it’s so much fun to compete with the team and I really missed it last year,” Taft said.
Taft said the injury, which affected her spine, was possibly due to a few too many gymnastic meets. Thus, she has continued to scale back her training and is still receiving physical therapy to keep the pain at bay.
The senior nailed her floor routine, posting a 9.55 score to easily place first in the event against Stonington.
Taft also was first in the bars with a 9.2, third in the vault (9.2) and second on the beam (8.8).
“She had a rough year (in 2018), a sad year and we were all feeling for her because she is a kid who comes in here and works so hard and is such a good teammate and wants it for everybody else. For her to be the comeback kid this year is awesome,” Tocchio said.
Taft didn’t have a lot of breathing room in the All-Around competition.
She finished with a 36.75 while fellow senior Ali Crescimanno was just three-tenths of a point back at 36.45.
“That’s pretty normal,” Crescimanno said. “We go back-and-forth and try to figure out our scores in practice and they come out to the same, sometimes. I fell on bars (against Stonington), she fell on beam; it could have come some place different.”
Crescimanno was tops in the vault with a 9.45, second in bars with a 9.0 and floor (9.4) and finished with an 8.6 on the beam.
Despite the two butting heads on the scoresheet, it does not translate to their personal relationship.
“Me and Lydia really do motivate each other,” Crescimanno said. “We’ve been together in the gym since we were so little and it’s always been back-and-forth between the two of us. It’s so fun to compete against her. It doesn’t really matter who wins or who comes in second.”
Tocchio is not foreign to the concept.
She and Justine Basley competed against one another in high school as members of the same Killingly High School team and often finished in similar 1-2 fashion.
“It’s really cool and we’re so happy Lydia is back. It helps push Ali and helps push Lydia and they help push the rest of the team,” Tocchio said. “That competition makes for a really good team atmosphere. It really ties everyone together. It’s funny because it makes it more neck-and-neck but it really does make the team better.”
Senior Maddie Grube was best on the beam for the Centaurs with an 8.9 against Stonington.
Grube finished with a 34.0 all-around score while Jenna Davidson tied for third in the floor exercise (9.1) and was third in the all-around with a 35.55. Abby Vaida added a 33.45 all-around score.
“They have all stepped up tremendously,” Tocchio said. “Honestly, we could probably have five captains on this team. They are such leaders in different ways and are always pushing each other. Abby, Maddie, Jenna, Emily (Arters) on vault, those are the scores that are getting us to that 145-ish score,” Tocchio said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy

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