INCOMING AND outgoing captains were named at the MHS gymnastics banquet. New captains Maya Weissman (left) and Abby Dennison (right) will join current junior captain Grace Gentile (second to left) who are pictured with departing senior captains Sofia Pitcher and Grace Burke. (Courtesy photo)



MELROSE—The Melrose High gymnastics team celebrated their successful season with a season end banquet held at Polcari’s in Saugus on Thursday, March 2.

Players, coaches and families gathered to celebrate their season, distribute awards and letters, and honor their outgoing seniors, Grace Burke and Sofia Pitcher. Melrose enjoyed a very strong 6-3 season.

The night also marked the retirement of longtime assistant coach Dave Montani, who’s been with coach Denise Valdez and the MHS program for 25 years. His family was on hand to celebrate. Incredible video production by David Roh featured MHS gymnasts of past and present wishing him the best of luck in retirement along with friends and family.

Said a grateful Melrose head coach Denise Valdez, “There is no one like Dave. If I was ever questioning something, he could always set me straight. We had a way to make things work and get it all done.”

This year, Melrose’s season got better each week and these gymnasts posted their highest point total of during their season finale meet against Malden by earning a score of 135.1, nearly good enough for MIAA North Sectional qualification.


THE MELROSE High gymnastics team celebrated their strong season with a season end banquet last week. Pictured (back row, l-r) asst. coach Dave Montani, Noah Williamson, capt. Sofia Pitcher, Abby Dennison, Maya Weissman, Sumin Kang, Isabella Ferranti, Owen Mistretta, asst. coach Alicia Valdez. Front: head coach Denise Valdez, capt. Grace Gentile, capt. Grace Burke, Ella Ugino and Katelyn Plourde. (courtesy photo)

At the Middlesex League Meet, they finished an overall 5th, besting ML teams such as Winchester, Woburn, Wakefield and Stoneham, for one of their best showings in recent years.

Additionally, freshman Isabelle Ferranti earned qualification to the MIAA Individual Finals last month.

Coach Valdez saluted her hard working senior captains, Grace Burke and Sofia Pitcher pointing out that they had made huge strides, particularly this season, to return from injury and compete in All Around.

Returning next season is junior captain Grace Gentile, and new captains Abby Dennison and Maya Weissman. They are joined by Noah Williamson, Isabella Ferranti, Sumin Kang, Katelyn Plourde, Ella Ugino and Owen Mistretta.