, Salem, MA

May 11, 2013

Nelson gears up for Nationals, Arkansas

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — Samantha Nelson has gone to the Junior Olympic Gymnastic Nationals at Level 10 four years in a row, but since this time will be the last the St. Mary’s senior and Peabody native is determined to make it special.

“My goals are to do the best I can and to have fun,” said Nelson, who will leave for the University of Arkansas in August to begin her college career. “Since this is my last opportunity I want to make it memorable.”

Two years ago Nelson was second on floor exercises at the nationals in California. Last year she was bothered by injuries and didn’t do as well. She qualified for the nationals which are in Minnesota this weekend, with a strong performance at regionals in Springfield a few weeks ago. Nelson flew out on Wednesday and will return tomorrow.

Nelson trains at Ace Gymnastics in Ipswich, and says she likes all the events and doesn’t have any one favorite. She will train all summer before leaving to join the Razorbacks, a top Division 1 program that recruited her heavily.

“I’m really looking forward to going to college; I can’t wait,” said Nelson. “They have a program all set up for me with things I need to do to be prepared to help the team right away.”


The Flip Flop Friends will hold the third annual Mother’s Day Walk tomorrow morning beginning at 9 a.m. at Cy Tenney Park. Peabody friends Jeannie Hallinan, Cathy Gravel, Gina Rocha, Karen Braz, and Terri Garofano will participate in their fifth Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Three Day Walk on July 26-28.

The popular six mile Mother’s Day walk is one of their main fund raisers with all proceeds going to this event, and a donation of $10 per person ($ 5 for students) or $25 per family is requested. Checks can be made payable to either the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Three Day or to Flip Flop Friends.

The other fund raiser the Flip Flop Friends are planning is the second annual Champions For A Cure Pub Day at Champions’ Pub in Peabody on Sunday, May 19 from 1-4 p.m. Tickets are $20 for a steak dinner and a chance to win raffle prizes.


In 1978 Peabody High athletes Mike Smyrnios, Trevor Pigett, and Darren Oliver set a Division 1 State Relay record in the triple jump (126’8”). That mark stood for 35 years until B.C. High broke it at this spring’s State Relays.


Brookes Townsend of Beverly Farms was named George Washington University Player of the Week recently. The junior shortstop/second baseman drove in the game winning runs to both games against Temple and batted .429 over a four game stretch that week.

He beat out an infield single in the bottom of the ninth to lead a come from behind, 4-3 victory and the following day tripled to drive in the lone run of the game.

Townsend, who played in Beverly Little League and Beverly Legion, went to the Salisbury School. He has the second highest batting average on the Colonials (.275) and third highest on base percentage (.358). Townsend has started 34 games for GWU which is currently tied for eighth place in the Atlantic 10 with a big three game series against VCU this weekend. The top seven teams advance to the A-10 championship. The Colonials are 20-29 overall and 10-8 in conference play, hoping to grab that last spot in the tournament.


Jean DePlacido is a longtime correspondent for The Salem News. You can contact her at