The Saratoga Springs gymnastics team performed well on the balance beam and floor exercise to win the Kate Filiberti Memorial Invitational Saturday, Feb. 2, at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School (Section 9).
The Blue Streaks outscored their nearest competitor by 2.95 points on the beam and by 2.375 points in the floor exercise to claim the team title with a score of 167.425. Mahopac (Section 1) was second with 161.400 points, while FDR placed third with 153.025 points and Wappinger Falls (Section 1) with a score of 150.550 points.
Sophomore Ava Dallas led Saratoga by taking the all-around title with a score of 35.65 points, while senior Laura Eberlein placed fourth with a score of 33.15. Dallas broke her own Section 2 record in the vault with a winning score of 9.425, and she took first place on the beam (9.125) and in the floor exercise (9.4).
“Coach [Deb Smarro] has been stressing all season getting maximum extension on the vault table,” said Dallas, who set the previous Sectional mark last year with a score of 9.4. “I coupled that advice with something Nadia [Comaneci] pointed out a few weeks ago with respect to my run-up and put it all together today.”
Comaneci spent more than an hour with Dallas and the Saratoga gymnastics team on January 23 while the five-time Olympic gold medalist was in the Capital Region promoting the Aurora Games, which will be in Albany this summer.
“Nadia really underscored the importance of a powerful run-up to the vault to get maximum lift and distance. You can’t be tentative and just have to attack it,” said Dallas. “I really focused on that today and was really happy to break my own Section 2 record. I think I can score a few tenths higher if I stick the landing.”
Dallas and her Saratoga teammates are preparing for the Section 2 championships Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Shaker High School, and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships March 2 in Long Island.