SMA gymnasts open season with win over Ridgway

The St. Marys Area gymnastics squad opened their season Wednesday by traveling to Ridgway, where they handed the Ridgway squad a 116.575 to 100.98 loss.“Both teams had some pretty nice performances but we were able to hit most of our routines. I felt the team looked pretty good despite the numerous rule changes that were implemented this season which definitely hit us hard, but we now have a starting point and know now what needs to be changed in the routines to become more competitive under the rules,” said St. Marys coach Irene McCandless. “We had five gymnasts place in the top four on each event.”Justin Huey of the Dutch took first in the vault with an 8.4. Molly Eshbach of St. Marys was second with an 8.25. Tied for third were Troy Huggler and Amanda Aiello of Ridgway with 8.0s. Rayle Pavlock of Ridgway was fourth with a 7.9. Other St. Marys scores were Mackenzie Neureiter 7.6, Megan Longhi 7.85 and Michaela Sorg 7.7. In exhibition, Bobbi Fox had a 6.45 and Abby Wittman 7.6.“On vault, Justin Huey secured the top spot, followed by Molly Eshbach in second. On bars, we struggled a little bit with clean performances. We were able to land the first two sports, with Justin taking first and Molly second,” said McCandless.Huey was first on the bars with a 7.4 Eshbach had a 7.2 for second. Amanda Aiello of Ridgway was third and Amanda Maddalena of Ridgway was fourth. Other SMA scores were Abby Wittman 5.45, Michaela Sorg 6.15 and Megan Longhi 5.7. Mackenzie Neureiter had a 4.7 in exhibition.Megan Longhi of the Dutch took first in the balance beam with a 7.35. Mackenzie Neureiter of St. Marys was second with a 7.0, followed by teammates Molly Eshbach and Michaela Sorg in third and fourth with a 6.625 and a 5.6, respectively. Bobbi Fox had a 5.025, while Abby Wittman had a 3.825 in exhibition.“On beam, our scores were low but we were able to take all four spots with Megan (Longhi) first, followed by Mackenzie (Neureiter), Molly (Eshbach) in third and Michaela (Sorg) placing fourth,” the coach said.In the floor exercise, Eshbach was first with an 8.175, followed by Neureiter with a 7.975, Hannah Lampman of Ridgway in third and Longhi in fourth with a 7.75. Huey had a 5.625 and Sorg a 7.45. Wittman had a 5.35 in exhibition.“In the floor competition, we placed three out of four spots: Molly first, Mackenzie second and Megan third. In the all-around, Molly was first, followed by Megan in second and Michaela in third,” added McCandless.Eshbach was first in the all-around, followed by Longhi, Sorg and Amanda Aiello of Ridgway.St. Marys will travel to Bellefonte on Saturday to compete in the Bellefonte Invitational at the Bellefonte Middle School.