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February 16, 2014

Gymnastics: Salem's Whittaker wins state all-around

SALEM — Brittany Capozzi hasn’t had the easiest gymnastics season, dealing with what her coach called a “chronic medical condition.”

But it didn’t keep her from competing at the New Hampshire state gymnastics meet yesterday at Salem High.

“It could have prevented her from competing today,” coach Chelsie Veilleux said. “We did a lot of preventatory things in the beginning and we were able to get her there. She took second (all-round) and that’s really something to be proud of and the fact that she was able to compete. She missed states last year because of the same issues.”

Capozzi scored a 36.15 to take second in the all-around while teammate Kaylee Pacunas earned fifth in the all-around. They led the Astros to the team title, their fourth title in five years.

Pinkerton scored 138.425 points. Salem finished in second (133.375) and Bishop Guertin came in third (128.275).

Salem sophomore Nina Whittaker won the all-around (36.25).

“For her (Capozzi) to be able to perform at the level that she did was phenomenal and Kaylee had a little rough start on vault but she came back and rallied on the bars, beam and floor and really had strong showings,” Veilleux said.

Capozzi, a junior, is being recruited by Division I schools, said Veilleux.

“It’s actually a very rare medical condition that there’s no trigger known,” Veilleux said. “And it’s very rare in the United States. She’s spent time in Children’s Hospital. It’s pretty severe so we’re always a little panic stricken. Didn’t know if we could get her here. It was going to be a game-time decision. We had our backups ready.

“Hopefully, we’ll have her healthy for New Englands so can really compete to her potential.”

Capozzi has come a long way despite not being a club gymnast.

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