PLATTSBURGH — The Beekmantown Eagles are low in numbers with just eight girls on the team; nevertheless, they still look to be formidable as they take aim at a fourth straight Section VII gymnastics title.
The Peru Indians, with a 15-member varsity squad, looks to be the chief threat to Beekmantown’s reign, coming off a second-place finish and 3-3 Champlain Valley Athletic Conference season.
The Plattsburgh High Hornets will undergo a rebuilding year. The Hornets return just four gymnasts, but the future is bright with 11 first-year competitors.
The Eagles return all but one member of their 2011 championship team and have added Desiree Dashnaw to the mix.
One of the veterans is junior Alyssa Leonard, who won the all-around championship last fall with a score of 35.325. She won on the individual beam and in floor competition, and placed second in vaulting and on the uneven parallel bars.
Sophomore Lydia Gricoski is coming off an outstanding season. She finished fourth, overall, in last year’s championship with a second on beam and a third in vault.
“I’m expecting a good showing from those two,” Beekmantown coach Sheree Trudeau said. “They’ve been working hard and are a year older; so we’re expecting strong showings.”
Trudeau is looking for solid showings from Erica Leonard, Alison Trudo, Brielle Cerne and Kailey Quackenbush.
“I really think Erica can be one of our top three performers,” Trudeau said. “She has really improved her skills all around and we’ve challenged her with some new routines.”
Erica Leonard finished seventh all-around with her best finish a fourth on the beam.
With only eight gymnasts, Trudeau worries about injuries and how that could hurt the Eagles’ chances of a repeat.
Alisha Adas, Brielle Cerne, Jen Graziane, Lydia Gricoski, Alyssa Leonard, Erica Leonard, Kailey Quackenbush, Alison Trudo.
The Indians’ depth has already been tested with Molly Lawliss battling an ankle injury. She finished third overall in the sectionals with a score of 31.75 with top-five performances in floor and on bars. Lawliss injured her ankle in state competition and is still working to regain full strength. Coach Krista Brown said Lawliss is not 100 percent and will be limited in her events to begin the season.
“This is a big blow for us, but I’m still positive because we have so many other people who should be able to step up,” Brown said.
Peru expects big performances from Alexandra Brown, who finished fifth in all around and third in floor at sectionals. Mason Fortin also contributed to the Indians’ success last season and was third on the beam in sectionals.
Newcomers Alaina Bazzano and Kira Fisher will also be in the mix for competition.
“The biggest challenge is going to be who will be our six gymnasts for each competition. It’s tough to whittle down because we have so many people. It’s a good problem to have though,” Brown said.
Meredith Barnaby, Alexandra Brown, Gabrielle Dion, Leah Forget, Mason Fortin, Kierah LaGrave, Molly Lawliss, Victoria Mitchell, Karsyn O’Donnell, Rebecca Pellerin, Alan Rivers, Abigail St. Louis, Alexis Trombley.
Alaina Bazzano, Kira Fisher
The Hornets, perennial powers in gymnastics, have hit on lean times. They were 0-5 last year and return just four gymnasts.
On the upside, 11 new members have joined the team.
Leading the way for the Hornets is senior Dalen Keswick. Keswick led last year’s squad in the sectional championships with 33 points and a second-place all-around finish after winning the vault and bars events. Kianna Giroux is also projected to be a key contributor for the Hornets.
Returners Hannah Kaltenbach and Julia Karkoski both finished seventh in individual events during the sectional championships.
Coach Janice Trudeau wants this year’s team to focus on increasing individual skills with an eye toward the future.
Emy Russell, Kagan Trombley
Kianna Giroux, Hannah Kaltenbach, Julia Karkoski, Dalen Keswick.
Julianna Barker, Josh Boise, Taylor Canet, Mikayla Dimartino, Alicia Keable, Chynna LaBarge, Kennedy LaMarche, Tina Mitsoglou, Angelica Sanchez, Miah Thorton, Stephanie Zukowski.