SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - On Saturday evening, South Brunswick High School’s gymnasium housed and showcased the best gymnasts in the Greater Middlesex Conference. It was the 2015 GMC gymnastics championships, and South Plainfield High School came into it as the defending champions, having won their first GMC title last year. In the 2015 GMC finals Bishop Ahr squad snagged the top spot this year, but some solid individual performances from Allison Graves and others helped give the Tigers’ a 105.7 scoring-line (their highest score of the season) and the second place trophy in this year’s GMC championship.
“We came in almost at full strength today, so I was really excited.” said Meredith Garofalo, the head coach of the Tigers. “I feel like they did as well as I could have expected them to do. I’m so proud of them.”
Graves’ performances were key in South Plainfield getting their score. Graves, a sophomore, returned to the GMC championships with a 5th place all-around finish last year as a freshman. She repeated the feat this year, coming in 5th in the all-around once again, this time with a score of 36.65.
“I’m happy I placed in all-around.” said Graves. “It wasn’t my best performance, but I’ll take a place. I came into the meet just trying to do it for my team, and to win or at least get second as a team, and we did it, so I’m happy about that.”
The sophomore scored a 9.3 in the floor, taking fourth place overall in the event. Graves also took fourth in the uneven bars with a 9.25, and she did it by performing a bonus move that she wasn’t exactly well versed at.
“I did a new skill I’ve never done before.” said Graves. “I just made up things.”
It certainly worked out for both her and her team.
“Even though it was awkward for her, it ended up being rewarding in the end.” said Garofolo.
Kristi Maher picked up a second place finish in the beam with a 9.1, while Brianna Spadavecchia got 4th in the beams with a 9.05. Natalie Stilo had the third best score out of the Tigers on the beams with a score of 8.67.
“We did awesome on beams.” said Garofolo. “We went 3 for 5. We had some of our highest beam and floor scores. We did our job on bars. I’m proud of them and I’m happy with our scores.”
Garofolo says the fact that they got their highest score of the season at the championships, is an indicator of the steady growth of the team.
“We had a climb from our first meet, and we have continued to grow.” said Garofolo. “I would say 99% of the meets this season were a successful climb. We started out at a 97 and we ended up with what’s so far our highest score of the season.”
That kind of growth is important for a team like the Tigers, and the team hopes they can keep it going.
“I felt our teams’ energy was positive and they were supportive of one another.” said the head coach. “They’re a young and growing team. They’re growing to understand the difference between the individual and the team, and today we showed that.”