Wins over Burlington & Wakefield start Melrose undefeated

MYA MARSHALL leaps on beam for the MHS gymnastic team, off to 2-0 this season after wins over Burlington and Wakefield. (Donna Larsson photo)

MYA MARSHALL leaps on beam for the MHS gymnastic team, off to 2-0 this season after wins over Burlington and Wakefield. (Donna Larsson photo)


MELROSE—The reigning league champion Melrose High gymnastics team opened their season sticking the landing with two straight wins including in a 135.45-133.65 debut win over Burlington on January 4 at the Saugus YMCA. Melrose swept 3-4 events for victory in that meet, with some standout performances from freshmen who give Melrose plenty to look forward to in coming years. On Tuesday, Melrose improved to 2-0 with a 132-119 win over Wakefield.

According to head coach Denise Valdez, hard fought efforts in the beam have helped pave way to victory. “It always comes down to beam,” she says. “Certainly in our Burlington meet. And it probably will a lot this year.” Melrose benefited from a few Burlington stumbles in that particular event, which helped Melrose clinch it, 34.35-33.95 on opening night. Senior captain Tania Dutra and freshmen Kiera Smith led on the event scoring 8.7’s in an all around strong showing for Melrose, who also saw nice efforts from Shay Fennell, Mya Marshall, Stephanie Dutra and Katie Wright.

Like in season’s past, Melrose showed great strength in the vault, an event that has been a secret weapon of sort. Freshmen Katie Wright had a strong debut for Melrose earning a 9.1 in the event, while sophomore Brook Barriss impressed with an 8.6. Keeping Melrose very competitive was Stephanie Dutra, Mya Marshall, Nia Kovacev, and Ciara Smith.

Melrose was slightly edged in floor (34.45-33.5), thanks in part to a large 9.3 earned by Burlington’s Caitlin Atwood, but the event showed strong efforts by freshmen Katie Wright, who earned a 9.0 and efforts by Stephanie Dutra, Olivia Bernis, Ciara Smith and Brooke Barriss. On bars Melrose counted on Ciara Smith (8.5) to lead the contingent, along with Izzy Albuja, Jane Harrington, Shay Fennell, Brooke Bariss and Katie Wright to top Burlington, 33.1-31.9.

“We’re working some new adjustments into our routines and we got the first meet jitters out,” says Valdez. “I like the efforts we are making on vault, including working some tsuk vaults into the routine.”

On Tuesday, Melrose improved to 2-0 with a resounding 132-119 win over Wakefield in a night in which they swept each event. The Lady Raiders enjoyed some top scores from Brooke Barriss and Katie Wright in the vault (9.0 each) while other high scorers included Tanya and Stephanie Dutra on beam.

Melrose will keep one eye on their competition against Reading, a team who have compiled a lot of points in their season debut. Melrose will host the Rockets on Friday, Jan. 20 but in the meantime travels to Woburn on Friday evening.

As always, their season remains a quick one, so check the squad out soon.

Remaining Gymnastic Season Schedule

Fri 01/13 @ Woburn 4:30

Fri 01/20 vs Reading, 7:30 YMCA -Gymnastics Center

Tue 01/24 @ Stoneham, 4:30

Thur. 01/26 @ Arlington, 5


Fri 02/03 vs Winchester, YMCA Gymnastics Center, 7:15

Sat 02/11 @ Middlesex League Meet, TBA