SYDNEY YEE flies high above the bar on her dismount to anchor the team’s bar rotation at home. Yee competed on beam at State Inividuals. (Photo by Brigid Locke @beescameralens)

Qualify for North Sectional Tournament this Saturday

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield High gymnastics team had a strong finish to their season, winning their final three meets and taking fourth at the Middlesex League Meet on Feb. 16. That allowed the Warriors to finish the season at 6-4 overall and 4-4 in the league and qualified them for the North Sectional tournament (for the 5th consecutive year) as the 11th seed out of 12 teams.

The final home meet for the Warriors on Feb. 10 was also senior night as Wakefield celebrated eight members of the Class of 2022. All eight were involved with the meet against the Tanners: Audrey Longo, Kaylee Lamberti and Kaylee O’Rourke managed the score table; Maggie High and Angelina Nardone competed on vault, Christina Covelle competed on beam and bars and captains Molly Grady and Sydney Yee competed all around.

“This graduating class brought so much positive energy to our team environment, led by captains Sydney Yee and Molly Grady,” said head coach Rachel Lucas.

It was a special night for the Warriors who competed in front of the best crowd in recent memory including a great turnout from the Red Sea student section. In that environment, Wakefield achieved the highest team score of the season at 141.35.

“We had a huge turnout of fans which created an atmosphere that the Woburn coach described as ‘collegiate’ which is a big compliment in the gymnastics world,” said Lucas. “Every competing senior hit their routines which added to the excitement.”

The Warriors gave their fans plenty of highlights, none more impressive than Grady’s routine on the balance beam. The combination of a big crowd and one of the most pressure-packed events in sports only brought out the best in the Wakefield co-captain as she broke the school record on beam with a score of 9.5.

Grady’s all-around score of 36.9 led the way for the Warriors as she also had strong routines on floor (9.35), vault (9.15) and bars (8.9).

Yee also had an incredible performance on senior day, scoring a 35.7 all-around. Her beam routine was one of the best of the season scoring 9.3. Yee also added an 8.9 on bars, 8.9 on floor and an 8.6 on vault.

Covelle had a terrific 8.6 on the beam which accounted for Wakefield’s score of 36.1 in the event. Covelle also had a strong run on bars with a 7.4.

Nardone (7.85) and High (7.8) both stuck their landings on vault.

The Warriors won the vault by a 35.3-34.4 count. Cheyenne Toppi’s 9.1 was Wakefield’s second best score of the day and Sophia Anderson’s 8.45 finished the scoring.

Wakefield also edged the Tanners on bars by a 34.25-33.25 score. Grady and Yee’s identical 8.9 scores led the way followed by an 8.65 from Paige Butland and a 7.8 from Toppi.

Grady and Yee’s incredible beam routines helped Wakefield push the overall lead to 105.65-103.2. Butland was 3rd on beam with an 8.7 and Covelle’s 8.6 finished the scoring.

Wakefield gave their crowd one more event victory winning the floor 35.7-34.05 to account for the final 141.35-137.25.

Grady’s 9.35 led the way on floor followed by Yee’s 8.9, an 8.8 by Butland and an 8.65 by Anderson.

The Warriors continued to stay locked in for the league meet. They were ranked 4th going in and finished 4th overall with a team score of 135.6.

Grady and Yee led the way once again.

Yee placed 8th all-around with a 34.35 including 10th on bars (8.1), 6th on beam (8.9) and 6th on floor (9.0).

Grady placed 3rd all-around with a 35.9 including 4th on vault (9.25), 4th on bars (8.9) and 3rd on beam (9.1).

Wakefield also got a top-10 event finish from Butland whose floor routine scored 8.85 points, good for 8th in the league.

Reading (141.4) came in first followed by Burlington (140), Wilmington/Bedford (139.8), Wakefield (135.6) and Melrose (133.25).

On vault, Grady’s 9.25 was followed by Toppi’s 8.4 which was 14th in the league and Yee’s 8.35 which was 15th. Anderson’s 8.15 (17th in the league) rounded out the scoring.

The Warriors scored a 32.35 on bars. Grady’s 8.9 was followed Yee’s 8.1 and a 7.85 from Butland for 13th in the league and a 7.5 from Toppi for 16th.

Grady and Yee’s beam routines were followed up by strong scores from Butland (8.2) and Anderson (8.0).

Yee and Butland’s floor routines were followed up by an 8.65 from Grady (13th) and an 8.4 from Anderson (17th).

“Our team was thrilled to rotate along with Burlington High who have been fierce competitors,” said Lucas. “It was encouraging to see all the athletes cheering each other on and focusing on doing the best they can, instead of focusing on winning a meet. It was a very fun night.”

Yee and Grady had another chance to make their team proud when they competed at State Individuals on Feb. 21. The top 40 all-around averages qualify in the all-around meet. Then the top 30 event averages qualify to compete in each event.

Grady competed all-around and Yee competed on beam.

Grady was named to the Massachusetts Senior National Team.

“We had our work cut out for us this year as we planned for the loss of nearly our entire competitive line-up given the Class of 2021 graduating and then learned of a season-ending injury for expected sophomore star Mia Rich just a week into the season – and yet the team delivered at each and every opportunity presented,” said assistant coach Meg Delory. “Wakefield Gymnastics has depth and grit and we’ve seen gymnasts from every grade level grow and rise to the challenge.

“We attribute it to the leadership of returning gymnasts – particularly Molly Grady (senior), Sydney Yee (senior), Christina Covelle (senior), Paige Butland (junior), Emma Callahan (junior) and Cheyenne Toppi (sophomore), along with newcomer Sophia Anderson (freshman). We hope it’s a welcome sign to younger gymnasts that they can make the transition from prior or current recreational and/or club gymnastics experience to high school gymnastics – and thrive.”

In the end, Wakefield took what many teams would consider to be a rebuilding year and turned it into a winning season with another trip to sectionals where anything can happen.