Sarah Pallay started the gymnastics season wondering if she would be able to maintain the level of success that she created last year in her junior campaign.
She ended the season as Hillsborough High School’s most decorated gymnast, with 18 event titles.
Pallay is the Courier News Gymnast of the Year for the second consecutive year.
“We have a lot of tradition at Hillsborough with gymnastics, and we have had a lot of great gymnasts come through, and Sarah has really embodied that,” head coach Beth Murrin said. “She has been able to consistently grow all four years. You can depend on her to win.”
Pallay holds a total of 18 titles since 2012, but they aren’t the only records she holds.
“She holds the school record on the floor with a 9.8 and is the second-highest all-around scorer in the Hillsborough record books with a 38.425, which she set on her senior night meet,” Murrin said.
Pallay contributed to a team victory at the Skyland Conference Gymnastics Tournament, giving the Raiders their second consecutive title.
Just when she thought she couldn’t get any better, she ended her high school tenure with a bang, hitting personal bests in almost every event.
In the Central Section II meet, Pallay set personal records in vault with a 9.6 and the uneven bars with a 9.55. At a dual meet against Montgomery, she hit a 9.8 in the floor exercise and a 38.425 in the all-around. Her personal best on beam is a 9.65, which she hit last season.
Her in-gym demeanor is something that made her stand out. She was expected to perform and perform big at every meet, but she never let it get to her. She stayed calm and level-headed no matter what.
“She is a very relaxed individual,” Murrin said. “She really enjoys competing with her team and representing her school, and I think that really drives her to shine.”
Pallay has never missed a championship meet over the course of her high school career, which is a feat in itself in a sport that often finds athletes injured and sidelined.
“It shows her grit and determination to always be there for her team,” Murrin said. “Of course, health has something to do with it too, but it shows her personality.”
Pallay’s ability to come back each season and exceed her accomplishments from the year before was unparallelled.
“She was winning titles as a ninth-grader,” Murrin said. “She has certainly always been a talent, but she has continued to grow in her confidence and what her talent allows her to contribute to the team. Kids just look up to her so much, not only because of her talent but also the way she handles herself.”
Staff Writer Alyssa Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org