Published in the January 28, 2021 edition.
By DAN PAWLOWSKI
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield High gymnastics team didn’t seem to be bothered by the majority of their season opening meet against Stoneham on Jan. 20 sounding like one long balance beam routine.
Wakefield and Stoneham both broke the silence by bringing their own noise; rooting for whoever was up and working on their craft, whether they were Warriors or Spartans. That is no small task considering the MIAA regulations that only allow a maximum of 12 student athletes per team at meets.
Wakefield got the win 141.45-133.8, but perhaps even more importantly, they learned a valuable lesson for this strange winter season: it means a lot – maybe more than any other season.
“I was so impressed with how the team showed up,” said Wakefield head coach Rachel Lucas. “They were excited and ready and despite the fact that we had no fans and only half our team, they competed fiercely.”
Wakefield won all four events against Stoneham.
The Warriors won the vault 34.5-33.1, led by junior Molly Grady’s 9.1. She was followed by senior captain Giana Liotine at 8.8, junior Sydney Yee at 8.4 and senior captain Lola Barrett at 8.2.
Barrett’s 9.0 and Grady’s 8.9 helped lead the way to Wakefield’s 35.15-32.3 victory on the bars. Liotine got an 8.65 and Yee closed the scoring with an 8.6. Senior Georgia Lamarre had great performance as well with an 8.55.
Wakefield ran away with it (carefully) on the beam where they won 35.33-33.85, extending their overall lead to 105.2-99.25.
Grady, who had the best all around score with a 36.45, had the top beam routine of the day with a 9.25. Barrett, whose all around score was 35.6, got a 9.1 on the beam. They were followed by strong performances from Yee at 8.8 and Lamarre at 8.4.
Wakefield closed it out with multiple impressive floor routines, an event that they have rarely lost over the past three years as they have evolved into one the state’s premier programs.
Much of that is thanks to Barrett, who started her final floor season with a 9.3.
Grady was next with a 9.2, followed by Lamarre’s 8.9 and Liotine’s 8.85 finished the scoring. Senior Ava Licciardi was right in the mix with an 8.5.
Wakefield moved to 2-0 when they hosted Winchester on Saturday and won 135.5-123.95.
Their highest scoring routine was again on the floor (35.75) where Barrett finished the meet with a 9.25. Grady scored a 9.0, Lamarre had an 8.8 and Licciardi improved to an 8.7.
Wakefield’s next highest scoring event was on vault with a 33.8. Grady took first again with an 8.9, followed by an 8.6 from Liotine and an 8.3 from Licciardi. Senior captain Courtney Collins scored an 8.0.
The Warriors pushed their lead to 66.4-61.85 on the bars where Grady got first overall with an 8.5. Yee was next with an 8.25 followed by an 8.0 from Liotine and 7.85 from Barrett.
Wakefield had multiple steady performances on the beam against Winchester. Barrett got the top score with an 8.4. Grady (8.35), Yee (8.3) and Lamarre (8.3) all finished with similar scores and freshman Mia Rich made an impact with an 8.0.
“The athletes showed up ready to go and I believe they gave 100 percent,” said Lucas. “That’s impressive for kids who haven’t been able to train like they normally do, have no fans cheering them on and know that they don’t have a postseason. They are truly making the best out of the season we have.”
Wakefield will try for a 3-0 start when they host Woburn this Saturday, 9 a.m. at Wakefield High.