Published in the March 3, 2017 edition
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—The Melrose High gymnastic team topped Middlesex League competition on February 25 when they competed in the 2017 MIAA North Sectionals. Melrose placed 5th with 136.625 points, just one spot shy of qualifying to advance to All States, and it represented the best performance of any Middlesex League team including league champs Reading, and rivals Winchester.
“They did well, and their effort overall this season has been incredible. I could not be more proud,” says Melrose head coach Denise Valdez.
Among the highlights, a strong all around effort from Melrose freshmen Katie Wright. She unveiled a new vault routine, a pike tsuk, that landed her a 8.950. She placed seventh overall, with a top personal score of 9.150 in floor. Stephanie Dutra also performed all around for Melrose with a solid beam performance. Melrose’s best events were beam and bars and they placed 4th among the 12 teams competing. Melrose was led in beam by Shay Fennell, co-capt. Tania Dutra and co-capt. Stephanie Dutra, Mya Marshall, Katie Wright and Ciara Smith.
Earlier in the week, five Lady Raiders qualified for the MIAA 2017 State Individual All Around Championship on Feb. 20. Representing Melrose were Katie Wright in the all around, Brooke Barriss (vault), Ciara Smith (bars), Tania Dutra (beam), Stephanie Dutra (beam). Melrose’s Ciara Smith had a solid day, placing 10th in her bar routine.
Overall it was a good end to a good season. Says Valdez, “I knew we had talent to do well this season, particularly with two freshmen who really came in strong. The whole team wanted to perform their best each meet and didn’t let me down.”
Melrose says goodbye to senior captains (and sisters) Tania and Stephanie Dutra, who have been with coach Denise Valdez since freshmen year.
“It’s hard to say goodbye, I just love them. They are both sweet and hard working. They were a huge component to our team and so helpful to our new players. I am going to miss them.”
Next year, however, Melrose will come prepared to battle. Says the coach, “We’ll be one more year experienced and we want our title back.”