19-0: Red Raiders Crowned New England Gymnastics Champions a 4th Time

DERRY, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Some thought it could not be done.

But first Barnstable took its 16th Cranberry Conference title.

Then it took sectionals for a 14th time.

The Barnstable High School gymnastics team poses with its 4th New England Championship trophy Saturday at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH. Photo courtesy of Jillian Pacheco

The Barnstable High School gymnastics team poses with its 4th New England Championship trophy Saturday at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH.
Photo courtesy of Jillian Pacheco

States? Try an 11th state title in 16 seasons since Duncan Chase took over as head coach.

And today? This afternoon at the Pinkerton Academy, the undefeated Barnstable High School gymnastics team captured its 4th New England Regional Gymnastics Championship and second in three years, defeating defending champion Woodstock Academy (CT), 147.15 to 147.0.

Barnstable completed its perfect season at 19-0, a new school record for wins in one season.

But the one obstacle the Red Raiders have faced all season long – the dreaded balance beam – was placed directly in their way and at the very end and even worse, when down by .70 behind defending New England champion Woodstock Academy (CT).

“The beam was last. We had to hit it or else,” Barnstable assistant coach Jillian Pacheco said. “Three out of six girls fell, so we only counted one fall. On the bars we had two falls. We were nervous, but our adrenaline was pumping. It was up to beam and no one likes to end on beam, but we killed it.”

The Barnstable High gymnast who “killed it” today, once again, and was just this morning named the 2014-15 Capecod.com All-Cape & Islands Gymnast of the Year, was junior Tali Twomey.

Twomey took second place on the beam with a personal all-time best score of 9.65. She was followed close behind by Alexa Wilson who came in fifth with a stellar 9.5.

“It came down to Woodstock on the bars and we just got done with beam and we hit beam – I think it was our highest score of the year for us … it was a great beam set. The kids did great on the beam,” head coach Duncan Chase said.

Both Barnstable coaches said that the floor exercise, one of the Red Raiders’ true strong suits, presented the most difficult challenge. The Pinkerton Academy floor was covered with a foam surface, not spring supported and that eliminated Barnstable’s ability to “tumble,” Pacheco said.

“From the beginning we weren’t favored,” she said. “We started on the floor when we should have started on the vault because we were ranked first so we were a little angry…the floor had no springs. It was a cheerleading floor! The girls couldn’t do any of their tumbling.”

Twomey wasn’t fazed by any challenge thrown her or her teammates’ way Saturday afternoon and she brought it all together with a brilliant 37.625 score in the All-Around, coming in fifth place. She also took sixth place in the floor routine with a 9.25 and a 9.425 on the vault.

Fellow junior Hayley Myrbeck nailed her vault – Barnstable’s first team event – with a 9.5 for fifth place. Lauren Hansen took care of the bars with a 9.525 and Alexa Wilson joined Twomey on the beam with a 9.5, good enough for fifth place.

“We started on floor and it was a little difficult for the kids, they couldn’t put all their tricks in,” Chase said. “The vault was great, the bars were great. On bars Lauren Hansen…she had a great bar routine, Tali hit her bar routine, Abbey “C” Chetwynd hit her bar routine, it was just a good three events and going into the last one we knew if we stuck beam we’d have a chance to win.”

Barnstable’s depth truly helped it capture the last 0.15 of one point it needed to edge Woodstock for the title, basically utilizing the skills of eight top gymnasts versus Woodstock’s four top girls. It’s been that way for the past three seasons with Barnstable beating Woodstock Academy by 0.2 points two years ago and then last year, Woodstock over Barnstable by four points.

The difference today, Chase conceded, was Twomey.

“This year it’s been Tali,” Chase said. “She came in fifth all-around and out of all six states, that’s impressive. Her 9.65 on the beam was huge.”

Barnstable has won New England titles in 2000, 2001, 2013, and now, 2015.

2015 Council of New England Secondary School Principals’ Association Championship

1. 147.15 Barnstable (MA)
2. 147 Woodstock Academy (CT)
3. 144.675 Pinkerton Academy (NH)
4. 143.650 Shrewsbury (MA)
5. 137.875 Southington (CT)
6. 137.0 Newton South (MA)
7. 136.90 North Kingston (RI)
8. 136.175 Daniel Hand (CT)
9. 135.80 Bishop Guertin (NH)
10. 135.525 Londonderry (NH)
11. 134.925 La Salle academy (RI)
12. 133.375 Warwick High School (RI)

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