By Matt Jenkins
---- — A strong start on two difficult events served the Beverly High gymnastics team well in the North Sectional Meet at Hudson High School Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers posted a 36.05 on bars and a 36.45 on beam — both season highs — and rolled to a 143.1 score overall, good for second place and a spot in Wednesday’s state final at the DCU Center in Worcester.
North Andover, which entered the meet seeded fifth, won with a 144.125. Beverly held its seed by placing second, and Newton South (142.125) and Andover (140.9) also advanced.
Danvers placed seventh and Masconomet took 11th place.
“It was an exciting first half of the meet, to have high scores on the first two events,” Beverly coach Lauryn Ginsburg said. “Those (bars and beam) are pretty much the hardest two to begin with and we were glad they were our first two. To get our highest scores was a really good feeling.”
The Panthers slightly underperformed on floor, then finished with a strong showing on vault.
They’ll be the No. 6 seed at states and Ginsburg is hoping they can stay loose and perform with a nothing-to-lose attitude.
“We’d be excited anyway, but I keep saying that this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete at the DCU Center,” Ginsburg said. “We’ll go in and soak up the opportunity and throw our best routines out there and see what happens. We’re excited to be there. Last year we went in as the sixth seed and came out second. You never know what can happen.”
Sophomore Heather Gomes had her best meet of the season, scoring a 38.1 in the all-around. She had a 9.6 on vault, 9.6 on bars, 9.5 on beam, and 9.4 on floor. Senior co-captain Adrianna Beatrice added a 35.8 in all-around with a 9.45 on vault, 9.35 on bars, 9.25 on beam, and 7.75 on floor.
Senior co-captain Loralee Smith and sophomore Hannah Rennie performed well in their three events. Smith contributed an 8.45 on vault, 8.5 on bars, and 8.2 on floor. Rennie had an 8.45 on bars, 9.05 on beam, and an 8.4 on floor.
Sophomore Kate Jackimowicz added an 8.45 on floor and an 8.4 on beam, while Kaitlyn O’Connor (8.65 on vault), Jenna Bonugli (8.6 on bars), and Libby Rosenberry (8.65 on beam) had solid performances.
The Panthers will be heading to Wednesday’s final with a good amount of confidence.
“We had three pretty major mistakes that we don’t normally make,” Ginsburg said. “That proves we can score higher at states. If we hit and do well, there’s room for improvement.”