CARMEL, N.Y. — It was quite a week to say the least for the Mahopac gymnastics team.
The Indians secured the team title at sectionals with a total of 170.425 team points, defeating second-place Lakeland/Panas by almost three full points on Feb. 4 at Carmel High School. Mahopac will also be sending four athletes to the state competition.
“A total team effort — every gymnast who competed made major contributions — highest team score of the season,” Mahopac coach Vin Collins said. “To accomplish this at this tournament with judging as tight as it is, is really something.”
Sophomore Callie Johanson claimed the all-around title with a 36.650 and was the first Mahopac gymnast since Kylie Shields in 2008 to win the all-around crown at sectionals.
“It made me realize that all of my hard work has paid off,” Johanson said. “The key for winning all around was staying focused and keeping my composure throughout all four events. I have put many hours into preparing for this competition and I was able to call upon that practice to help me perform to the best of my ability. The one event that has pushed me towards the top was the floor exercise. This event has always been the one that I have excelled on.”
And excel she did.
Johanson won the balance beam by a landslide with a 9.525 and also took first in the vault, netting a 9.525.
“Callie was something special tonight,” Collins said. “Her vaults and routines were solid — she was really on tonight.”
Johanson was also second in the floor exercise (9.625) and fifth in the bars (8.050).
Dorovitsine placed second in the all-around (35.85) and scored a 9.45 in the uneven bars to win that event. Collins called it her “best routing of the season.” Dorovitsine said the key to her performance was a skill known as a ‘shoot over.’
“It’s a skill that I have struggled with in the past, but shows a higher level of gymnastics ability when completed successfully,” explained Dorovitsine, who also placed fifth in the vault with a 9.0. “This skill improved my start value significantly and allowed me to score a 9.45, a season high for myself. Finishing one of my best bar routines at the Section 1 championships was a proud moment for me, and showed me how much I have improved since the beginning of the season.”
Johanson and Dorovitsine will both compete in the all-around at states at Shaker High School in Latham, which is near Albany, on Feb. 27.
Eighth-grader Chloe Lee and junior Cassie Traina will join Johanson and Dorovitsine at states. Lee made the state team in the bars, scoring an 8.6 to place second. Traina was second in the vault with a 9.2 and will take her talents to Latham to compete in the event.
The beam was key for Mahopac in capturing the team title as it went 6 for 6 with no falls according to Collins.
“Each gymnast was strong n vault and bars and we finished on floor with outstanding routines.” Collins said. “This is something special that the entire team, especially the seniors, will remember for a long time. Once again, a total team effort.”
The Indians also claimed the Division 2 championship on Feb. 1 at Odyssey Gymnastics Center in Mahopac. They narrowly defeated Wappingers, 164.90-164.625.
“Winning the Division 2 and Section 1 championships really showed how much we’ve improved from the beginning of the season as well as the past couple of years,” Johanson said. “We’ve faced many strong teams both this year and last year, and being able to come out on top together as a team shows off our hard work and effort. This victory was important to me because I now know what this team is capable of, and I am determined to continue our hard work in my next two years as a member of the team.”
Dorovitsine echoed her teammate’s sentiments regarding the team’s success.
“Winning the title of Section 1 and Division 2 champions this year really proved to our entire team just how far we’ve come,” Dorovitsine said. “We didn’t have an undefeated season as we had hoped, and we faced setbacks when some of our strong gymnasts suffered injuries. Despite this, our team was able to pull through and win this title in a group effort. Our ability to come together and support one another in the biggest meet of our season showed us just how much we can accomplish together. Winning this title in my senior year was especially important for me because I’ll always look back on that moment and remember the amazing team I was lucky enough to be a part of.”
Johanson took second in the all around at divisionals. She won the floor with an impressive 9.65 and took first in the bars, scoring an 8.250. She also placed third in the vault (9.0) and beam (8.650)
Traina took fourth all-around. She was second in the vault with a 9.1 and sixth in the beam (8.5) and in the floor (8.95). Dorovitsine came in fifth in the all-around and placed third in the floor (9.15).
Lee took second in the bars with an 8.125.
The Mahopac quartet is very much looking forward to competing at states. Johanson, who has been on the team since eighth grade, will be making her third trip to states but it will be her first time competing in the all-around.
Leading up to states, I will continue to work hard in the gym on all of the events,” Johanson said. “I would like to improve on the uneven bars, where I have struggled the most. I will particularly focus on my form to improve my performance and contribute to the team score at the state championships.”
For Dorovitsine, it is her second trip upstate for the statewide competition. She competed in the bars last season, but is also excited to get the chance to display her skills in the all-around.
“Making states for my second year in a row is an important accomplishment for me because it is a challenging competition to qualify for, and allows me to represent my school and my section at a state-wide competition,” she said. “I look forward to sharing this experience with my teammates on the Section 1 state team. Leading up to states, I will be working on improving my start value on all events, especially the floor and beam. I suffered a serious foot injury last year which I have been working to recover and regain my strength. There are still some skills which I have yet to complete successfully after my injury, and I hope to have these skills ready to compete by the [state] championships.”