HAMPDEN – For the floor exercise portion of gymnastics meets, the competitors have to do certain required moves but can pick their own music.
Hampden Academy junior Beth Moser chose a medley of 1940s swing music for her floor routine, and it helped her to a second-place finish in the event in Monday’s three-way meet between the Broncos, Old Town and Waterville.
The Panthers won the team portion of the meet, tallying 139.9 points. Hampden took second with 126.2 points and Old Town’s total of 117.5 was good for third.
Moser scored an 8.0 on the floor exercise, tying with Old Town’s Kate Thornton. Thornton earned a 7.8 for first on the balance beam and was third in the uneven parallel bars.
“Overall, I guess it wasn’t too bad,” Moser said of her performance. “I could have done better on the bars.”
Moser was Hampden Academy’s only top-three finisher. It’s a wonder that the squad was able to compete at all – the Broncos have only practiced three times in the past four weeks due to the recent ice and snow storms. For a team that is made up of primarily freshmen and sophomores who have little experience, a lull in practices can be devastating.
“With a sport like basketball you can pick up a ball and work on something,” junior Heather Corson said. “With gymnastics you have to have mats and a place to go.”
The loss of practice time also hurts because Hampden is one of few teams in the state that doesn’t have girls who train at private gyms or work year-round.
“We only train in the winter, so that’s when we learn everything,” said Lori Robichaud, who has been doing gymnastics with Moser for seven years.
With a team of just four, Old Town has also had a tough time at recent competitions. It helped the Indians, however, that three of them swept the uneven parallel bars and the all-around spots.
“We’re looking for more people to join,” Old Town coach Shannon Gallant said. “We’re putting up posters in school, making announcements. We’ll take anyone with no experience. We just need the bodies.”
Old Town’s Michelle Thornton won the all-around competition with 30.4 points and was second on the bars with a 7.2.
“I like the bars best of all,” said Thornton, who is a junior and trains year-round at the Old Town YMCA. “I just like swinging, I guess.”
Aside from the team competition, several individuals competed at the meet to qualify for state championships. For Mellory Giberson, who attends Valley of Bingham but works out at a gym in Auburn three times a week, competing at Monday’s meet was a way to gain recognition.
Giberson is ranked by the United States Gymnastics Federation as a level 10 gymnast, which she said is one step below the elite, Olympic-quality gymnasts. But Giberson isn’t looking for international competition – her goal is to get recognized by a college.
“I think I’ll probably just stay in level 10,” Giberson said. “The rules for the elites are a lot harder. I’d just like to get a scholarship.”
AT HAMPDEN ACADEMY
Waterville 139.9, Hampden Acad. 126.2, Old Town 117.5
Vault: Mindy Pomerleau (W) 8.3, Danielle Doyon (W) 8.1, Stacey Clark (W) 8.0, Duska Sturrup (OT) 8.0; Bars: Duska Sturrup (OT) 7.3, Michelle Thornton (OT) 7.2, Kate Thornton (OT) 6.7; Beam: Kate Thornton (OT) 7.8, Mindy Pomerleau (7.7), Stacy Clark (W) 7.6, Michelle Thornton (OT) 7.6; Floor: Danielle Theriault (W) 8.2, Beth Moser (HA) 8.0, Kate Thornton (OT) 8.0, Duska Sturrup (OT) 7.9; All-around: Michelle Thornton (OT) 30.4, Kate Thornton (OT) 30.1, Duska Sturrup (OT) 29.8