SALEM NEWS GYMNAST OF THE YEAR
At just 4-foot-11 Gomes has created quite a name for herself around the high school gymnastics circuit over the past three years. The 16-year-old junior led the Panthers to their fourth consecutive NEC/CAL title and fourth undefeated season.
Gomes averaged a 37.175 in the all-around this winter, was named the Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League MVP and finished second at state individuals in the all-around. Earlier this month, Gomes placed sixth at the New England Championships and earned a fourth place finish on bars with a 9.5 at the meet.
“Since that first day of practice three years ago to now, I have seen Heather grow and mature,” said head coach Lauryn Ginsburg. “As a freshman she was very quiet and didn’t say much to me about her skills or routines. Now as a junior, and one of the top scorers in the state, she has come out of her shell and become a lot more confident in making choices in her routines.”
In February, Gomes helped the Panthers to a sixth place finish at North Sectionals in Hudson by placing first in the all-around with a 37.975.
“Competitively, I have also seen her confidence grow since freshman year quite a bit,” added Ginsburg. “As a freshman she didn’t feel really comfortable in the last spot in the lineup and would get very nervous when we had bigger meets. Now she has become a lot more confident in her role as the closer on each event and doesn’t seem to get as nervous or shaky at the bigger competitions when we really need to count on her scores to help the team.”
Competes on the balance beam and floor, but has developed into the premiere floor specialist for the Panthers ... Averaged a 8.7375 on the floor exercise this winter ... Chosen as a NEC/CAL all-star ... Helped Beverly to its fourth consecutive NEC/CAL title and fourth undefeated season ... Played a huge part in the Panthers qualifying for sectionals.