As recently as two years ago, the Franklin D. Roosevelt High School gymnastics team went winless.
So the thought of this program earning a sectional title was one of those, “Maybe someday…” dismissals.
That day was Monday.
That’s when a trio of Roosevelt gymnasts sparkled, earning a trip to the state tournament and leading their team to its first Section 9 championship.
“Coming from where we’ve been, this is huge,” Presidents coach Yonnie Coughlin said. “The growth of the program has been amazing to watch and we’re so proud.”
Shannon Kelly, Dannika Bolitho and Clara Patton were among the top performers in the tournament and each qualified for the state championships on March 4 at Cold Spring Harbor High School on Long Island.
Bolitho took fourth in the all-around with a 31.575 to lead the Presidents, who edged second-place Wallkill, 148.55 to 146.825. Roosevelt also had gone 6-0 in league meets and captured its first Mid-Hudson Athletic League title.
The three girls each qualified for three events in the state tournament.
Bolitho, a sophomore who dazzles with her leg switch on the balance beam, will compete in that event as well as the vault and uneven bars.
Patton, an eighth-grader, has mastered the clear hip to fly-away dismount on the bars this season. She qualified to compete in bars, beam and the floor exercise.
Kelly, a sophomore whom Coughlin described as a “show-stopping performer” in the floor exercise, will compete in that along with bars and vault. Kelly competed in the state tournament last year, taking 26th with an 8.25 on vault.
“They compete at the club level, so they’re used to performing on big stages,” assistant coach Donna Tissot said of the girls’ calm in preparing for the state tournament. “They’ll be competing against some higher-level gymnasts, but it’s always a thrill to perform at this level and there’s a great sense of pride.”
Patton scored a 30.525 on the all-around Monday, including an 8.650 on the floor exercise. Kelly had a 29.650 all-around score, including an 8.7 on floor and 8.0 on vault. Bolitho had an 8.475 on floor, took first with an 8.225 on the balance beam, and had 8.2 on vault.
The other gymnasts representing Section 9 will be Wallkill’s Emma Frisbie, Miah Frisbie and Amanda Snyder — the top three finishers in the all-around — and Jalynn Harrison of Kingston/New Paltz. The Kingston High School senior took fifth in the all-around with a 30.8.
Emma Frisbie had the highest score with a 33.425.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Coughlin said. “We’re excited for the girls and extremely proud of the progress we’ve made.”
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4