'Canes, Titans pick up important wins
Warwick Vets and Toll Gate each picked up two important victories on Sunday afternoon in a meet at Dream Big Gymnastics in Cranston. The Hurricanes improved to 6-1 and remained tied for first place in Division II with victories over Toll Gate and Mt. Hope. The Titans, who were celebrating senior day, picked up wins over Mt. Hope and Portsmouth to run their record to 4-5, a major improvement over last year’s winless campaign.
It was a good day all around.
For Vets, the meet was about taking care of business. The ’Canes are in a three-way tie for first place with Exeter/West Greenwich and West Warwick. They have match-ups with both of those teams in the coming weeks, but couldn’t afford any missteps along the way.
They cleared another hurdle Sunday, scoring 124.1 to Toll Gate’s 115.7 and Mt. Hope’s 111.65
“This was a big meet for us,” said Vets head coach Stacy Capone-Melino. “This gets us two more wins so now we stay right up there. We had a lot of kids showing improvement today. Overall, as a team, they pulled together.”
Sophomore standout Candis Kowalik, the defending state champion, didn’t have her best showing of the year but still managed to score 36.2 points. She tallied a 9.45 on vault, a 9.2 on beam, an 8.9 on floor and an 8.65 on bars.
“Candis didn’t have her best meet but she pulled it out,” Capone-Melino said. “She still got it done.”
And the rest of the team rallied. Junior Kayleigh Desjarlais and sophomore Allie Quinn also competed all-around, with Desjarlais scoring a 30.6 and Quinn checking in at 29.9. Desjarlais had her best showing in the vault, with an 8.5 and Quinn was right behind her with an 8.45. Quinn also had an 8.05 on beam, good for the team’s second-best performance.
Juniors Megan Macrae and Jessica Browning both scored an 8.05 on vault to round out the scoring for Vets in that event. In the bars, Browning stepped in with the team needing a sixth participant and ended up with a top-four score of 3.6.
On the beam, Macrae scored a 7.6 to join Kowalik, Desjarlais and Quinn. On floor, sophomore Sloan Kinney tallied an 8.0 and senior Michaela McNally rounded out the top four with a 7.35.
“Candis didn’t have her best meet, but the team as a whole really pulled together,” Capone-Melino said.
Toll Gate couldn’t quite keep up with the Hurricanes but that didn’t put a damper on a strong performance. The team’s 115.7 score was its highest of the season, and it out-paced Mt. Hope’s 111.65 and Portsmouth’s 87.4. It also came at a good time, with five seniors honored before the meet.
“This was our last home meet and it was our best meet of the season so it was a great way to finish,” said head coach Christy DeMelis. “To send off five seniors like this, we couldn’t have been happier.”
The Titans also got some revenge for a heart-breaking loss to Mt. Hope earlier in the season, when the difference was a miniscule .05 points. This time, the Titans left no doubt.
“It was nice to get Mt. Hope back from that close loss,” DeMelis said. “We knew we had lost to them by such a small amount that we really focused on certain things that would take away a tenth of a point here and a tenth there. Trying to make all the connections, with no little steps or bobbles. We had a couple of really good practices. I came in confident and I think the girls did too.”
The Titans were led by senior Brianna Santopietro, who competed all-around and scored in each event. She tallied an 8.3 on vault, a 7.0 on bars, a 7.5 on beam and an 8.0 on floor for a total score of 30.8.
Freshman Katelyn Foeller also competed all-around and earned a top-four score across the board. She finished with an 8.15 on vault – Toll Gate’s highest score of the day in any event – a 7.0 on bars, a 7.5 on beam and an 8.10 on floor for a total of 30.75.
Toll Gate’s other scoring on the vault came from senior Lindsay Proulx, who had an 8.0, and senior Tiffany Meunier, who notched a 7.85.
On bars, Meunier tallied a 4.1 and sophomore Eren Oztunc hit a 4.7 to join Santopietro and Foeller in the scoring, On beam, freshman Kate Eminger delivered a 7.2 and senior Cara Coogan scored a 6.9. On floor, Coogan tallied 7.85 and Eminger scored 7.55.
“All the girls pretty much had their best meet,” DeMelis said. “Bars were about average, but it was our best beam, floor and vault of the season.”
And that made it a good send-off for the seniors – Coogan, Meunier, Proulx, Santopietro and Allysa Dolan.
The Titans have three meets remaining and will focus on getting individual scores up, with an eye qualifying for the coaches’ invitational and the state meet.
For Vets, the rest of the season will determine which team gets to celebrate a regular-season division championship. Vets will compete against EWG again this Saturday. On Feb. 10, the ’Canes will close out the season against West Warwick.
“Our next big meet is going to be our home meet against West Warwick,” Capone-Melino said. “We weren’t competing against them but we were at the same location as them a couple of weeks ago and it was within a tenth of a point. So that’s going to be the big thing team-wise.”