A year after placing eighth in the Nassau gymnastics team championships, Long Beach will enter next week’s county event within reach of its goal to finish in the top four.
“Our team dynamic is amazing and the girls set a goal at the beginning of the season to end up in the top four,” coach Jessica Baker said. “We’re going to be ranked no lower than sixth and maybe as high as fifth, so it’s right there within our reach.”
The Marines were averaging a score of 161 through six matches, winning three and losing three. The team championships will be held Feb. 16 at Syosset, two days after the individual state qualifier meet at Carle Place where they’ll be represented by five gymnasts.
“We have 18 girls on the roster and we’ve had some newcomers step up and do well,” Baker said.
Long Beach is led by its three All-Around competitors: senior Alyssa Haberlack and juniors Kirsten Lilly and Lola Roarty.
Haberlack is a six-year member of the program and a captain along with Lilly and junior Lauren Clune. Haberlack has been scoring exceptionally high on floor exercise and balance beam, Baker said, and could also be competing on vault at the state qualifier.
“Alyssa is going to be very hard to replace next season,” Baker said of Haberlack, who has averaged a 33.15 All-Around score. “She’s an extremely polished and clean gymnast and also a team leader. She executes her skills close to perfection. She has a beautiful presentation on floor and is scoring in the 9s on floor and beam.”
Lilly, a club gymnast like Haberlack, is a returning state qualifier participant and averaging a team-best 34.783 in the All-Around. “Kirsten has been doing exceptional on bars with an average of 8.816,” Baker said. “It’s usually the toughest event for most high school kids, but she’s a very hard worker and really executes.”
Lilly also has a high level of difficulty on beam with a front ariel as part of her routine. She’ll be competing in all four events at the state qualifier, Baker noted.
In just her second year on the team, Roarty averages 30.6 in the All-Around and is thriving on vault with an average of 8.15. It’ll be her second time competing on vault at the state qualifier. “Lola’s explosive on vault, has a beautiful floor exercise and keeps getting better on beam with all the work she’s putting in,” Baker explained.
Freshman Sophie Marino is headed to the qualifier on bars, and seventh-grader Maeve Frunzi will do the same on beam. “Sophie has helped us tremendously on bars, and Maeve has added to our depth in beam and bars,” Baker said.
Clune is a beam specialist in her fifth season and has a smooth and polished routine that brings consistent scores, Baker said. Adding to Long Beach’s success has been senior Falon Duffy, a former competitive cheerleader racking up points in three events.