ROXBURY, NJ - (Updated and corrected version) Roxbury High School senior Tiffany Zieba led the school's gymnastics team to a close win today against Mount Olive, a victory that preserved the young team's undefeated record for the season.
The Gaels walked away with 105.175 points to the Marauders' 105.15. It was Mount Olive's second loss of the year, leaving the team with a 4-2 record.
Zieba was the top scorer in all-around points, compiling 36.925. She also gathered the most points in vault (9.4) and bars (9.175).
This is the Roxbury's second year fielding a gymnastics team and it's the first year in charge for coach Kellie Damelio. She replaced the inaugural team's coach, Tara Liska, a 23-year-old, 2014 Roxbury graduate.
"I was a gymnast for West Milford High School when I went there," said Damelio, who is a special education teacher at Roxbury. "I also was their assistant coach when I worked there. "
Damelio said Liska got a new job "down south," leaving Roxbury High School Athletics Director Stu Mason in a pinch. He "emailed all districts looking for a gymnastics coach and West Milford told him about me," Damelio said. "When he asked me to coach I was super excited, but a bit rusty. It's been about 13 years since I've coached, and being a head coach is way different from being an assistant."
Damelio said another Roxbury special education teacher, Caty Gluck, is helping her manage the team. "I think of her as a co-coach," she said. "I am really lucky to have her."
The coach said her team is made up of dedicated athletes.
"The ladies have been working really hard on their skills," she said. "They come to the high school practice and then most of them have a club practice for several hours afterward."
Damelio said the Mount Olive meet was "tough," adding "both teams have exceptional gymnasts."
That made the win especially sweet for the Gaels. "The Roxbury girls fought hard for gymnastics to become a sport at their high school," Damelio said. "Obviously, buying all that equipment is a massive expense, but then there really is nowhere to set it up or keep it. I am so glad their hard work is being acknowledged. It's a bunch of extremely talented and committed women. I have been blessed with amazing girls and a great co-coach."
The Gaels next take on Indian Hills, at Ramapo High School, on Oct. 10.