WA Gymnastics places second at DCL championships


Keertana Gangireddy

A WA gymnast performs on the uneven bars.

Kristen Su, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, February 5, WA girls’ gymnastics placed second in the Dual County League Championships with a score of 134.850. Going into the meet, the WA girls had a season record of 5-2.

The girls competed against Newton-South, Acton-Boxborough, and the Cambridge-Rindge & Latin School, with Newton-South placing first overall with a score of 146.000. AB and Cambridge placed third and fourth, respectively, with scores of 131.000 and 110.850.

The first event for the WA Girls’ team was the uneven bars. Among the top performers were sophomore Ellie Cioffi with a score of 8.300, sophomore Mina Kiefer with a score of 8.100, and senior captain Jess Gould with a score of 7.900.

Following their run on bars, the girls moved to the balance beam as their next event. Gould performed her routine combining cartwheels, direction changes, and split leaps before performing a front dismount, earning a score of 8.400. Junior Erin Cragg also earned a score of 8.400, while Kiefer garnered a score of 8.7500. Cioffi’s combination of back tucks, back handsprings, and backbends earned a 9.400.

Next, the girls moved onto their strongest event overall: the floor routine.

WA Gymnastics Coach Stephanie Coburn explained the process of how she trained her athletes to have high-performing scores on the floor.

“I always like to tell my athletes to tell a story while competing floor. Clean dance lines and showing off while performing are key to a good floor routine,” Coburn said.

Freshman Megan Strzegowski and Gould both earned scores of 8.700 on their floor routines. Kiefer, who successfully landed a round-off back handspring, followed by a one-and-a-half twisting layout as well as several aerials and split leaps, earned a final score of 9.100. Additionally, Cioffi earned a 9.200 for her lively floor routine, involving several successful tumbling passes and stylistic elements.

Lastly, the WA Girls competed on vault. Several girls performed front handspring vaults, while many also opted for half-on, half-off vaults. Gould earned a score of 8.400, while senior captain Trisha Chittu obtained the higher of her two scores on vault, an 8.450.  Kiefer, despite having slight difficulties with her landing, stuck WA’s highest score of 8.800 with a Tsukahara vault, involving a half-turn, backward push, and salto.

In the end, WA made the podium for three of their four events. On beam, Ellie Cioffi placed first. On floor, Cioffi tied third while Kiefer tied for sixth. Lastly, on bars, Cioffi placed sixth. As for the all-around event, Kiefer placed third with a score of 34.750. Captain Jessica Gould, Cioffi, and Kiefer were also honored as DCL All-Stars.

Overall, spectator Ashley Craig, a former WA gymnast and alumna, commented that the WA girls did well and exceeded her expectations.

“I was really impressed. The level of difficulty in the DCL has really been very impressive this year, and I think that the girls at Westford Academy really stepped up to the plate. You could tell that they were performing well and they were focused and united as a team, and they looked like they were having fun out there,” Craig said.

Ultimately, Kiefer explained that she thought this meet was successful and was proud of her performance, given some of the challenges she faced going into it.

“I was very nervous because this was the last meet that I could qualify for the individuals’ meet. I was also nervous because I have a pre-existing foot injury and I was planning on competing all-around. Overall, I think the meet went really well and I’m really proud of my team,” Kiefer said.