Dutch gymnasts open season with victory

The St. Marys Area gymnastics squad opened their season Wednesday night with an 110.55 to 98.7 victory over the Ridgway gymnasts in a meet held at the St. Marys Area Middle School.“We were pleasantly surprised that the team was able to pull off the win with such a young, inexperienced squad. The girls did pretty good in trying to keep the first-meet jitters under control, but you could definitely tell they were not all comfortable competing for the first time, especially on the balance beam,” said St. Marys coach Irene McCandless.“We had many falls that hurt us score-wise as well as on the bars. But at least now we have a starting point and all we can do is move forward from here,” she said.In the vault, Michaela Sorg of St. Marys was first with an 8.5, followed by teammate Abby Wittman with an 8.350. Ridgway’s Kayla Pavlock was third with an 8.250. Nicole Florio of SMA was fourth with an 8.150. Mackenzie Neureiter of SMA was fifth with an 8.100. Gabbi Benninger of Ridgway was next with an 8.0, followed by teammate Amanda Maddalena with a 7.9. Sam Covac and Paige Grazioli of Ridgway were next with 7.9s, with SMA’s Cheyenne Bothun following with a 7.7.“The vault and floor routines were very good and I was extremely pleased how the girls performed on these two events,” said McCandless.In the uneven bars, Ridgway’s Maddalena took first with a 6.6750. St. Marys took the next four spots with Abby Wittman 6.6250, Michaela Sorg 6.3, Mackenzie Neureiter 6.1750 and Nicole Florio 4.750. Benninger was next with a 3.5250, followed by SMA’s Madison Quesenberry with a 3.2250. Ridgway took the next three spots in Sam Covac 2.9250, Jenna Hoffman 2.8750 and Alanna Schiafone 1.5.Benninger won the balance beam with a 7.550. Sorg was second with a 6.750, followed by Neureiter with a 6.225. Ridgway’s Hoffman was fourth with a 5.650, followed by teammates Kayla Pavlock 5.225 and Kendall Jordan 4.775. Quesenberry was seventh with a 4.525, with Wittman taking eighth 4.40 and SMA’s Florio and Ridgway’s Courtney Bush tied for ninth with 4.125.Florio won the floor exercise with an 8.3250, followed by teammate Neureiter with an 8.200. Ridgway’s Hoffman was third with a 7.8, followed by SMA’s Wittman 7.6250 and Sorg 7.550. Ridgway’s Grazioli 7.1 was next with SMA’s Jessica Tettis taking seventh with a 6.40. Covac was eighth with a 6.350, followed by Pavlock with a 6.200.SMA’s Michaela Sorg won the all-around with a 29.10 total. Her teammate Mackenzie Neureiter was next with a 28.70 total, followed by SMA’s Abby Wittman 27.00 and Nicole Florio 25.35.In exhibition for St. Marys, Katlyn McCandless had a 6.8 in vault; Marissa Pangallo a 7.150 in vault and Cheyenne Bothun a 2.55 in bars, 4.3 in beam and 6.1 in floor. For Ridgway, Grazioli had a 2.350 in bars and a 5.1750 in beam, while Covac had a 4.325 in beam.“Overall the girls did very well for the first meet and we are definitely glad to have the first meet out of the way and get a first win,” said McCandless.St. Marys is off until Jan. 4 when they travel to Bellefonte for a 6 p.m. meet.