EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 17, 2013

Salem dethrones 3-time defending champion Astros

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — SALEM — Salem racked up 134.075 points to win the gymnastics state championship yesterday.

The Blue Devils had a surprisingly comfortable margin over Bishop Guertin (133.25) and three-time defending champion Pinkerton (132.55). Londonderry placed fourth with 126.85 points.

Freshman Nina Whittaker won the floor, took second in the vault and placed third in the all-around for the Blue Devils. Junior Kadianne Tommasi was sixth in the all-around and took third on bars and fourth on floor.

“The girls worked so hard all season,” said first-year Blue Devils coach Kyle Redmond. “This is the cherry on top of the sundae. We’re ecstatic. Kadi and Nina were huge for us. They are both extremely talented.”

Their pluck and depth were on display, too.

Lillian Oliveri who was out with an ankle injury since Jan. 31 returned and scored key points.

“She really stepped up huge for us, under the pressure,” said Redmond.

While Oliveri was able to return at a high level, Pinkerton wasn’t so lucky. Banged up former two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star Olivia Bogaczk didn’t place in any event.

The Astros did get a stellar effort from junior Kaylee Pacunas, who nipped Bishop Guertin’s Kasey Bond for the all-around title 35.875-35.85.

Redmond took over for the legendary Ginnie LaVallo, who won 12 titles with the Blue Devils.

“I’m grateful for such and amazing opportunity,” said Redmond, who won a Massachusetts vault state championship at Tewksbury High, from where she graduated in 2007. “Hopefully, I proved I belong!”

She sensed the potential of this team during the preseason.

“What amazed me when I first walked in, I thought ever girl has the potential to compete,” said Redmond.

N.H. State Meet

Team scores (12 teams): 1. Salem 134.075, 2. Bishop Guertin 133.25, 3. Pinkerton 132.55, 4. Londonderry 126.85, 5. Goffstown 125.875, also 8. Pelham 111.775

Winner/locals in top 6:

Bars: 1. Kasey Bond (BG) 9.1, 2. Kaylee Pacunas (Pink) 8.95, 3. Kadianne Tommasi (Salem) 8.65, 5. Nina Whittaker 8.5; Beam: 1. Gia Quinn (John Stark) 9.125, 3.tie Pacunas (Pink) 8.8, 6. Whittaker (Salem) 8.7; Floor: 1. Whittaker (Salem) 9.4, 4. Tommasi (Salem) 9.125, 6. Pacunas (Pink) 9.075; Vault: 1. Caroline Nichols (BG) 9.35, 2. Whittaker (Salem) 9.225, 6.tie Pacunas (Pink) 9.05;

All-around:1. Pacunas (Pink) 35.875, 2. Bond ( BG) 35.85, 3. Whittaker (Salem) 35.825, 4. Nichols (BG) 35.725, 5. Haile Gallagher (Goffstown) 34.95, 6. Tommasi (Salem) 34.675; also 10. Sarah Vignos (Windham) 33.525, 15. Jacqueline Bogaczyk (Pink) 32.5, 17. Jordan Dufresne (Lond) 32.225, 19. Miranda Marchetti (Lond) 32.025, 20.tie Cassie Passamonte (Pelham) and Sarah Passamonte (Pelham) 31.175