Depth: the quality of being complete. In this case, the quality of being a complete gymnastics team.
Beverly High coach Lauren Ginsburg and Masconomet coach Shannon Worth credit the depth of their squads with their successful seasons. The two teams square off tomorrow at Yellow Jackets in Middleton as the Chieftains (6-1) host unbeaten Beverly (7-0), as well as Salem, in a tri-meet at 5 p.m.
At the beginning of the season, Beverly wrote two goals on its wall. One was qualifying for states; the other to go undefeated. Ginsburg is pulling out all the stops in order to meet those goals.
"We're putting up our strongest set out there because Masconomet is definitely the hardest team we're going to face this year," she said.
Senior co-captain Megan Harty on beam, junior Taylor Metta on bars, junior Liz Laymon on floor and sophomore Adrianna Beatrice on vault have been unstoppable for the Panthers this season. "We're nine girls deep on every event," said Ginsburg.
The Panthers have already had two other meets this week.
"It's tough, but we've been practicing hard," said Ginsburg. "It definitely puts a little bit of pressure on the team because we don't want to lose our undefeated streak on the second-to-last meet."
As for the Chieftains, the girls were handed their first loss of the season last Sunday against North Andover after six straight wins to start the season.
"We had a bad meet, but we're still in the race," said Worth. "We really wanted to beat North Andover because we never have before."
Worth is in her third season as head coach of the Chieftains program after taking over for her sister, Caitlin. The team has been putting in many hours of hard work in hopes of taking home the conference title.
"Our goal right now is to tie with Beverly for the Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League crown," said Worth. "Our ultimate goal is states."
In comparison to last year, the Chieftan girls have been putting up solid scores in every meet; like Beverly, they are averaging between 138 and 139 points. Masconomet has 13 gymnasts who are willing to do anything to help the team achieve its goals.
"We've had a ton of things to work (since) the loss," said Worth, "But one advantage we do have is that (tomorrow's) meet is at home, where the girls are more comfortable."
Leading the way for the Chieftains is senior-captain Helen Steggall. She was named an All-Scholastic and won the NEC title on the vault last season. She continues to put up big scores on vault and bars for her team this year. Freshman Jessica DeMarco competes in the all-around is also a valuable point producer for Masconomet.
Both coaches say this is a friendly rivalry between the two North Shore gymnastics powers, which should only add to the excitement tomorrow's meet should bring.