New Paltz High School qualified three gymnasts for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association meet at the Section 9 championships at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School on Wednesday.
New Paltz sophomore Michele Amado placed second in the all-around with a score of 36.550. Amado joined all-around champion Jasmine Harrison of Kingston (36.850) and Emily Beck of Kingston, who placed third (35.2). Amado won the vault with a 9.4.
“I’ve been practicing a lot and I’ve been going to the gym five days a week, so I just tried to prepare myself for competition,” said Amado, who is headed to states for a second straight year. She qualified last year in everything but the uneven bars. “Last year, I didn’t qualify in the all-around and this year, it was a much better performance.”
Amado scored a 9.15 on balance beam, a 9 on bars and a 9 on the floor.
The state meet will be held on March 2 at Smithtown East High School in St. James.
Also qualifying for states from New Paltz were senior Brianna Dixon, who placed second on the vault with a 9.25, and sophomore Peppy Smith, who placed fourth on the balance beam with an 8.625. The top three finishers in the all-around automatically qualify for states and the next three finishers in each event outside of those three also qualify.
Dixon, a senior, missed the Section 9 championship last year, breaking her arm two days before the meet.
“It’s nice to qualify for states. It’s nice that it’s not taken away from me,” said Dixon, who also qualified on the vault as a freshman. “I’m very happy. I’m very satisfied.”
Smith made states for a second straight season, making it on the bars and the beam last season.
“It’s exciting. I didn’t expect it,” Smith said. “A lot of us were hurt, but we pulled through it. We had a good season and we had a couple of rough spots, but overall we had a good season.”
New Paltz did not field a program in 2011, but has returned to prominence within Section 9, placing second in the team competition with a score of 163.275. Kingston, with a score of 168.725, won its 11th consecutive Section 9 title.
“We definitely wanted all three to go. Sections went great,” New Paltz coach Harry Cooper said. “We’re losing (Brianna Dixon) after this year, but the other girls stepped it up with their routines.”
In addition to Harrison and Beck, Kingston also qualified Colleen Keegan-Twombly in the vault, floor and bars. Wallkill placed third in the team scoring with a 161.625 and qualified Torey Puff in all our apparatuses, Nikki Riker in all but vault and Amanda Snyder in balance beam.
Franklin D. Roosevelt placed fourth with a score of 139.525 and qualified no gymnasts for the state meet. The Presidents’ top all-around competitor was Amanda Mittermaier, who placed ninth with a 31.8.
“We’ve come pretty far because we have high-school gymnasts and not so much competitive gymnasts at the club level,” Roosevelt coach Yonnie Coughlin said. “The fact that they can get through a season and learn so many new skills and turn into a sectional competitor is impressive. I’m very proud of their progress, hard work and dedication to the sport.”