By LAUREN READ
ESSEX – For the second year in a row, the Vermont high school gymnastics state championships came down to the wire.
Unfortunately for Champlain Valley, this year they were on the losing end.
Essex, just one year after having their longtime hold of the state title snapped by the Redhawks, took back the crown by beating CVU by just over a point, 137.625 to 136.275.
“That was our highest all-around score of the season,” said CVU Coach Madison Bourdeau. “It’s fun to have that competition. I am really proud of our year.”
St. Johnsbury finished in third place, followed by Montpelier in fourth and South Burlington in fifth.
South Burlington senior Diana Gregoire captured the all-around title for the second straight year.
While the Redhawks settled for second as a team, three of the program’s gymnasts walked off with individual titles. Taylor Hoar, appearing in her first state meet, won the vault with an 8.25.
“It felt really good,” Hoar said. “It felt really nice to win that.”
Delaney Miller-Bottoms (9.425) earned first place on the beam and Logan Claffy got a 9.575 to earn the top spot on the floor exercise.
In addition, Laurynn Bombardier finished in second place on the beam and floor exercise.
While CVU placed its gymnastics near the top in three of the four events, it was their struggles on the bars that set them back. With none of the performers earning above an 8, the team finished with a score of 30.45, nearly three points behind where Essex scored on the same event.
“We hadn’t lost a meet this year,” Hoar said. “I guess next year we will just have to work a little harder.”
Despite the setback on the bars, the Redhawks responded. They earned a 35.575 as a team on the beam and 36.95 on the floor exercise, but the last push fell a little short in their quest to repeat.
“I am really proud of beam (score),” Bourdeau said. “We really work on just ‘no matter what, stay on the beam and keep your routine moving.’”
Bombardier finished in third place in the all-around competition, with Miller-Bottoms just behind her in fourth place.