Paige Stuyniski was sitting on the bleachers watching Dec. 18.
The former standout gymnast for The Woodstock Academy had just returned home on Christmas break from Texas Woman’s University.
She looked on as her former teammates competed in their first meet of the season at Deary’s Gymnastics in Danielson.
She saw a familiar occurrence.
The defending Class S, State Open and New England champs downed Old Lyme 137.55 – 114.65.
Centaurs coach Kasey Tocchio was pleased.
Last year, a 137-point total would have been considered a sub-par performance.
But All-State and All-New England athletes like Stuyniski and Grace Logan have graduated.
The two remaining All-State performers in the All-Around from last year, Ali Crescimanno and Lydia Taft, are either on the mend or watching.
Jenna Davidson is recovering from an injury as well.
In this set of circumstances, 137 points was a good place to start.
“This is a brand-new team. It has a completely different dynamic from last year. They showed me (Monday) that they want to be just as good,” Tocchio said.
Crescimanno, still on the mend after suffering injuries in a car accident, competed in all four routines, getting a 33.1 total.
“That’s not indicative of what Ali can do, but it’s good for her to get some competition under her belt even if she is watering things down right now,” Tocchio said.
Taft is a bit of a larger question mark.
Tocchio said Taft will be “out for a long time” and may try to return before the end of the season, but would also be doing a watered-down routine if she does return.
Davidson competed in just two events.
The sophomore finished with identical 8.5 scores in the bars and beam. Davidson will likely be back in all four events in January with no limitations.
Maddie Grube was the leader in the season opener.
The junior wasn’t perfect, but finished with a meet-best 34.3 in the All-Around.
“I had a little fall on beam, so I’m hoping to get back into the gym and nail it,” Grube said with a smile. “It’s one of my best (all-around scores) and I’m pretty proud of that.” Grube also finished first in the vault with a 9.0 score.
Junior Abby Vaida was best on floor (9.0) and beam (8.6). “I just love that kid,” Tocchio said. “She is someone who just works so hard. She is never not doing a drill or doing something that she’s not supposed to. She is such a great kid to have in this gym and to see her thrive and get so much better in the last couple of years is exciting.”
Freshman Grace Gronski also captured a first-place finish in the bars (8.6) and was second in the all-around with a 33.85 total.
Tocchio was expecting a total in the low 130’s after a practice meet on Friday yielded a 133 so she and the team were more than happy with the 137.55 total.
“It was definitely a good confidence booster. We were putting all the numbers together in practice and to have it come out like this and having everyone nail their routines is really rewarding,” Grube said. “It was better than what we expected. Losing Grace and Paige, who were really big assets, (is tough), but we’re coming together.”
The Centaurs took on Old Lyme again Dec. 21 and the results were similar. The Academy took a 135.75 – 116.41 victory at Shoreline Gymnastics. Gronski was tops in the all-around, finishing with a 34.0 total.
That was just behind Maggie McKeon, competing as a team-of-one for the Putnam Clippers, who finished with a meet-best, 34.75. Crescimanno was third in the all-around with a 33.85 total. Davidson was best in the bars competition with an 8.7 and was third in the beam. Grube tied McKeon for second in the vault with a 9.0 and Vaida was second in the floor behind McKeon.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director

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