The Bishop Ahr High School gymnastics team feels right at home competing in the NJSIAA North 2 Sectionals – and not just because the meet is held in its home gymnasium.
Bishop Ahr’s confidence stems from an indisputable track record of success at the sectional level, which continued Thursday night as it captured its seventh straight title by scoring a 111.800 to edge Union County champion and runner-up Westfield (110.325).
The 10 highest-scoring teams from the five sectionals around the state, only two of which were completed prior to Thursday, will advance to Monday’s championships finals at Montgomery High School. The qualifiers were not known as of late Thursday night but Bishop Ahr, which will be looking to improve on its 2011 mark of seventh in the state, was the only team to come out of North 2 last year.
“There were moments I was very nervous because we haven’t practiced in so long,” Bishop Ahr coach Brant Lutska said. “But for the most part the girls came out and did their job.”
The winning effort was keyed by freshman Julianna Drapkin, who won the all-around title by scoring a 37.700 and taking first on the beam and vault, second in the floor exercise and third on the bars. She also won the Greater Middlesex Conference all-around earlier this season.
Drapkin was surrounded at the top by teammates Casey Sabino and Corrine Greis in every event. Sabino (37.000) and Greis (36.200) finished third and fifth, respectively, in all-around. Greis also won the bars title.
“I was very nervous but still very confident,” Drapkin said. “I’m really happy but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates because they gave me the confidence to get it done.”
“We don’t ever look at it as trying to beat one team,” Lutska said. “We look at it as trying to give our best performance.”
The only other GMC school competing, Old Bridge, took fifth with a 98.0125. Alexa Kubulak, eighth in the all-around, paced the Knights.