Take 6th at sectionals
Published February 27, 2019
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
NORTHBOROUGH — The postseason always comes with a little more tension. Routine plays are heightened, pressure mounts. It’s true for any sport but none more than gymnastics.
In that environment the Wakefield Warriors, a team without much if any postseason experience, thrived.
Following their second place finish at the Middlesex League meet, Wakefield had five gymnasts qualify for State Individuals on Monday Feb. 18: Lola Barrett (all around), Giana Liotine (vault, bars), Sydney Yee (bars, beam), Elise Rich (beam) and Molly Grady (vault).
“Individuals was awesome,” said Wakefield head coach Rachel Lucas. “All who competed did great and represented Wakefield well.”
Barrett had a phenomenal all around performance, taking 11th in the state with an even 36. The sophomore started her day off with a 9.15 on vault. She followed that up with an 8.7 on bars, an 8.875 on beam and a 9.275 on floor. Barrett has been one of the state’s best on floor all season and her strong routine at state individuals qualified her for floor at the New England Championships on March 9.
Wakefield’s two representatives for vault both had similar strong scores. Liotine took 24th overall with an 8.875. Grady finished 30th with an 8.75.
Liotine didn’t skip a beat heading over to bars. The sophomore tied for 20th with an 8.3.
Yee took 29th with an 8.05 on bars before heading over to the beam where she really shined with a top 10 finish. Yee’s 9.025 on the beam was an incredible 9th best in the state.
Wakefield captain Elise Rich also represented the Warriors well with an 8.15 on beam.
Seeing Wakefield at North Sectionals must have been strange for some of the state’s powerhouse programs like Masco-Lynnfield (151.725), Newton South (147.85) and Reading (142.55). The Warriors not only proved they belonged, but they also made it clear that they intend on becoming a powerhouse sooner rather than later.
Wakefield scored a 138.125, tying for 6th overall with Andover.
“Sectionals was quite the meet,” said Lucas. “The judging and competition was incredibly challenging but the team really pulled together to upgrade their routines and put out the best performance of the season.”
Once again, the Warriors were led by Barrett and Liotine who both competed all around for Wakefield.
Barrett had an all around score of 35.4 while Liotine scored a 34.375.
Grady and Liotine set the tone on vault with a 9.025 and an 8.975 respectively. Barrett followed that up with an 8.65 and Rich concluded the scoring with an 8.4. Once again, although they didn’t officially score, two more Warriors proved the depth of the Warriors as Emily Federici (8.3) and Jessica Maffe (8.3) both had strong vaults.
Wakefield’s bar routine was 4th best at North Sectionals and 8th best in the state as they got a 33.9.
Barrett led the way for Wakefield with an 8.7. Grady followed up her terrific vault with an 8.65 on bars. Liotine scored an 8.4 and Yee got an 8.15.
Barrett then decided to have her best performance of the year on the balance beam with a 9.35 to keep the Warriors in the mix. She was followed up by more strong performances from Yee (8.8), Rich (8.5) and Liotine (8.25).
Like they’ve done in every meet this year, Wakefield finished their season strong on floor with team score of 34.275. Liotine got an 8.75 followed by Barrett (8.7), Yee (8.525) and Alana Willis (8.3).
“We are so proud of their success this season and a 6th place finish at a meet like this is very impressive,” said Lucas.
The Warriors certainly kept their composure as they concluded one of the best seasons in program history. In fact, you won’t get many arguments that this could be the most talented and dedicated group the Warrior gymnastics team has ever seen.
Part of the main reason for that is the team’s focus on improvement. In true form, the Warriors are already thinking about how they can have an even better performance in 2020.
“We already have our eyes set on next season and can’t wait to see how far we can go,” said Lucas.