DANIELSON, Conn. — Woodstock Academy winning the ECC gymnastics meet title has been a foregone conclusion over the last decade.
The Centaurs had not only won 10 straight conference crowns entering Monday's latest ECC showcase meet, they had won seven of the last eight State Opens. Woodstock literally had no competition from anywhere in the state, let alone the ECC.
And again Monday Woodstock prevailed, capturing its 11th straight ECC championship. But this one came with plenty of drama.
The Centaurs totaled 139.4 points to trim second-place Stonington, which scored 138.5, in the six-team meet. Very little separated the top two teams, and Stonington emerged as overjoyed as Woodstock with its performance, one that included a school record for team points.
"Woodstock came out on top, but we had a really good night and we're happy about that," Stonington junior Hanna Laskey said. "We don't care that we got second. We did the best we could do."
Stonington and Woodstock tied for the ECC regular season title with one loss each, splitting their two meets. The Bears gave Woodstock its first regular season loss in 10 years, stunning the Centaurs, 136.75-131.15, at Stonington in January. Woodstock was missing key performers in that meet and got its revenge a week ago at its home (Deary Gymnastics in Danielson), 137.8-133.1.
Those who thought Woodstock was peaking at the right time were not wrong. Still, Stonington also produced a career night while under pressure.
The Bears actually led after the third rotation, 104.55 to 104.20. A strong showing in the balance beam (35.2) and floor exercise (36.3) gave Stonington a slim lead. Katya Torruella led Stonington with an 8.9 in the beam. Hanna Laskey, Torruella and Lydia Laskey scored 9.25, 9.2 and 9.1, respectively, in the floor.
"I knew we were hitting on a lot of routines, especially the beam," Stonington coach Leslie Gomes said. "I knew nothing about the team scores because we focus on doing our own thing. I knew we were both doing well. Our last event, the vault, is not our strongest event, and they did well in the floor. I just thought we both performed very well."
Stonington scored 33.95 in the vault, led by Hanna Laskey's 9.1. Woodstock scored 35.45 in the vault, which was its first rotation. The Centaurs sealed the narrow win with 35.2 points in their final event, the floor exercise.
Woodstock's Jen Davidson repeated as ECC champ, scoring 36.7 to win the all-around. She won the uneven bars and balance beam. Hanna Laskey was second with 35.25, and freshman Lydia Laskey was fifth all-around with 34.7. The top six in each event make All-ECC.
Hanna Laskey was second in the vault (9.1), while Lydia Laskey was sixth (8.5). Torruella was second on the beam (8.9), followed by teammates Lila Rich and Lydia Laskey in third (8.85), and Hanna Laskey in sixth (8.6).
"The beam was the highlight of the night," Rich said. "Everyone stuck their landing."
Stonington's Ruth Greene said it was hard to feel upset by the close loss.
"We accomplished what we set out to do so far this year," Greene said. "We wanted to beat Woodstock, which was a highlight, and we gave them their first regular season loss in 10 years. All year we've been waiting to set the school record and we actually did it today."
Hanna Laskey said the Woodstock rivalry is not over.
"We figured they'd be strong in their territory," Laskey said. "But we'll see them in the Class S states."