2014-15 All-Cape & Islands Gymnastics Team

HYANNIS – If there has been any steadfast, driven and progressive movement in high school athletics on Cape Cod over the past 25 years, it’s been the consistent and unwavering attempt to have competitive gymnastics – a highly-regarded Olympic sport – gain a foothold. After winning its 11th MIAA Division 1 State Championship last week end, and on its way to New Hampshire today to vie for its 4th New England title, it is clear that the sport has become a part of the very fabric of Barnstable High School athletics.

Tali Twomey - Barnstable High School 2014-15 All-Cape & Islands Gymnast of the Year Sean Walsh/ Sports

Tali Twomey – Barnstable High School
2014-15 All-Cape & Islands Gymnast of the Year
Sean Walsh/ Sports

Make no mistake, Barnstable High School works extraordinarily hard at keeping gymnastics at the forefront. It is no small feat to win one state title in any sport, never mind doing it 11 times as the Red Raiders did again two weeks ago.

And if any one individual might serve as a living symbol – a personification, if you will – of the substance and value and sheer athleticism that has been gymnastics, then it is this year’s first-ever All-Cape & Islands Gymnast of the Year.

This year’s 2014-15 All-Cape & Islands Gymnast of the Year was not a team captain, yet she led her team in every possible way. When the team needed high scores in a difficult event, even though it may not have been her specialty, she went out and nailed that event. Under pressure with her teammates being waylaid by the flu and worse yet, suffering from debilitating injuries disabling them from competition? This tiny 11th grader stepped into the breach and got the job done.

According to both her head and assistant coaches, Barnstable High School gymnast Tali Twomey, all 4’11” of her, is every bit the top candidate for All-Cape & Islands Gymnast of the Year. We could not agree more, because she is precisely that.

At two away meets in gyms this season with failing and broken equipment and in poor conditions, many teammates understandably refused to compete in fear of injury. Not Twomey. She stepped right up to compete in the All-Around hoping to garner her teammates as many points as they all needed to bring home a team victory.

In the MIAA Division 1 South Sectionals, with Head Coach Duncan Chase admittedly concerned on the bus ride to Hudson that the unbeaten Red Raiders would go home empty handed, Twomey again stepped up. With a depleted roster due to injuries and illnesses, and some teammates almost forced to compete while coming down with a team-wide bug, Twomey “had the meet of her career,” according to Barnstable High Hall of Famer and assistant coach Jillian Pacheco. Twomey scored a 37.8 in the all-around, including a 9.75 on the floor exercise and a 9.6 on the uneven bars. Her highest scores this season included a 9.475 on the vault, 9.6 on the balance beam and the aforementioned scores in her top two meets.

Always with a cheerful, upbeat, positive, “can-do” attitude, perhaps the old adage is true when applied in this specific instance: It was never the size of the dog in the fight for the State Champion Red & White in gymnastics this season, it was always the size of the fight in the heart of 2014-15 All-Cape & Islands Gymnast of the Year, Tali Twomey.

2014-15 All-Cape Cod & the Islands Gymnastics Coach of the Year

While there were certainly more than enough gymnasts on the rosters of the three high schools on Cape Cod this season that competed at the varsity level – Barnstable and the two-year-old Falmouth/Mashpee team – to compile an All-Cape & Islands team, it seemed almost inconsequential to select a top coach. Ultimately, though, we thought it was only fair to do so. If you are the best at what you do, you deserve to be recognized.

Duncan Chase - Barnstable High School 2014-15 Coach of the Year

Duncan Chase – Barnstable High School
2014-15 Coach of the Year
Sean Walsh/ Sports

While former Red Raider Shailey Pires has made a significant impact on the Cape gymnastics’ scene in just two seasons, creating a highly competitive program as head coach of the Falmouth/Mashpee team, it would be difficult to overlook a head coach, as humble as he may be, whose team went 18-0 and won its 11th state title this year, the only undefeated team in any sport on the Cape this winter.

To Pires’ credit, she took her team to a third place finish at sectionals and a sixth place finish at states out of 12 teams. We tip our hat, unequivocally, to this up and coming top-notch coach. From what we’ve heard, she was named the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Gymnastics Coach of the Year.

But Duncan Chase does not deserve to be overlooked, even though we are certain he would defer to anyone else but himself. In deference to his humility, we will be brief.

No other coach has a higher winning percentage in any sport than Coach Chase since the inception of Barnstable High School in 1873. He has accumulated a .964 winning percentage with a lifetime record of 217-8. In his sixteen seasons as gymnastics head coach he has won three New England Championships, 11 state championships, 14 south sectional titles and 16 conference or league titles. He has staged nine undefeated seasons and this season marked the most wins in a season to date, unbeaten no less. To his credit, his main on-Cape opponent is managed by one of his former gymnasts and another gymnast of his is his top aide as well as a hall of famer.

We think it takes no further depiction: Duncan Chase is this year’s 2014-15 All-Cape & Islands Gymnastics Coach of the Year.

2014-15 All-Cape & Islands Gymnastics Team

Taylor Dimond, Falmouth High School, Senior
Sydney Pinsonneault, Mashpee High School, Sophomore
Allison Kondracki, Mashpee High School, Sophomore
Jackie Hansen, Barnstable High School, Senior
Lauren Hansen, Barnstable High School, Sophomore
Kayla Myrbeck, Barnstable High School, Junior
Hayley Myrbeck, Barnstable High School, Junior
Abbey Chetwynd, Barnstable High School, Junior
Jillian Fraser, Barnstable High School, Senior
Tali Twomey, Barnstable High School, Junior
Alexa Wilson, Barnstable High School, Junior

This list was compiled by Sean Walsh, sports editor for, in conjunction with the recommendation of coaches. His email is [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm 

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