Golden Girls: Barnstable Red Raiders Take 11th Massachusetts State Championship Crown

“Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” — George Halas

NORTHBOROUGH – There were nerves last week during sectionals. There were nerves on the bus ride to Algonquin Regional High School yesterday afternoon.

And there were nerves when it came time for the first rotation in last night’s MIAA Gymnastics State Championship.

The Barnstable High School gymnastics team captured its third straight and 11th overall state championship title last night and will now vye for its 4th New England crown next week. Photo courtesy of Jillian Pacheco

The Barnstable High School gymnastics team captured its third straight and 11th overall state championship title last night and will now vye for its 4th New England crown next week.
Photo courtesy of Jillian Pacheco

“I was even a little nervous after the second rotation,” Barnstable High School gymnastics head coach Duncan Chase said on the bus ride home to the Cape last night. “But when Alexa Wilson hit the beam and then Tali Twomey hit the beam and then Abby Chetwynd hit the beam there were no more nerves. That’s when we started to know.”

What began to sink in with Coach Chase was that this group of largely underclassmen had the fortitude to achieve what so few high school athletes ever even get the chance to achieve: they had the stoicism and passion to capture Barnstable High’s 11th state championship title in the past 16 seasons and they did it in spite of a season that vacillated between some really great moments and some moments of doubt.

“We had a season of ups and downs,” Chase said. “There was some real tension, but these girls were pumped up. Barnstable just has so many talented kids. Every year somebody steps up.”

Finishing with a score of 147.35, Barnstable took its season record to 17-0 (a new school record) when it edged rival Shrewsbury, just as it had last week in the sectionals. Shrewsbury finished with a 145.05 to take home the silver medal and Newton South took bronze at 140.75. Falmouth/Mashpee took a respectable sixth place with its score of 138.325 in its first-ever bid for a state title and just its second year of competition.

The last event was the floor routine and Coach Chase said that when junior Hayley Myrbeck was through with her performance the team was ecstatic.

“When Hayley hit it, we knew,” Chase said.

Part of getting to that point of “knowing” were the individual efforts that began adding much-needed points to Barnstable’s team score, along the way to the grand finale on the floor.

Those efforts included Twomey and Wilson’s first place tie on the balance beam when they both crushed it with 9.475 scores.

Twomey, who has been a varsity standout since the eighth grade and is now a junior, also notched second place in the All-Around and was spectacular in the meet-ending floor routine. Myrbeck took first place in the vault and sophomore stalwart Lauren Hansen came just behind Twomey in the All-Around in third place.

“Jillian Fraser was fantastic,” Chase added. “When she hit the beam, too, the girls were just very excited. The whole team was just very impressive.”

Barnstable will now head with Shrewsbury and Newton South to the New England Regional Tournament next weekend as the Red Raiders make a bid for the school’s fourth regional crown. Barnstable won the New England title in Chase’s first two seasons as head coach in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 and again in 2012-2013.

Today marked the third straight season Barnstable has captured the Massachusetts state title. The school has won four consecutive state championships twice.

Coach Chase is 216-8 since he first took the helm in 1999 and all championships have been won under his tutelage with the sole exception being the school’s 1992-1993 Old Colony League title.

— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm

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