On the heels of a dominant performance at the NJSIAA Central Jersey Section I meet on Nov. 5, the Freehold High School gymnastics team will go into the Nov. 10 state team championship meet as the No. 1 seed.
The Colonials’ team score of 112.550 at the sectional competition was the highest score in all of the sectional meets.
Bishop Ahr of Edison (110.450) and Hunterdon Central of Flemington (110.375), which won sectional crowns, are the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds and the most serious threats to the Colonials on Nov. 10.
The team championships will be held at Montgomery High School in Somerset County.
Hunterdon Central has posted the highest team score in the state this season, 113.600, just ahead of Freehold’s 113.55.
The Colonials’ Jennifer King believes the best is still ahead for Freehold.
“We have been putting up great scores even with mistakes,” King said. “If we put it all together we have a chance” to win the state title. “It’s always the team that gives a perfect performance on that day that wins. We’re looking to do that. We have done everything we can do to try and improve.”
The Colonials will have experience on their side on Nov. 10. They finished third in 2010 and with the addition of Danielle Verdon, who has posted the best all-around score in the state this year (38.35), the team is ready to have that perfect day,
“We all have the experience and we know what to expect,” King said.
Verdon said out that at the Shore Conference and state sectional meets, the Colonials were the defending champions and the team that was a huge favorite. That will not be the case on Nov. 10 and Verdon believes it will make the Colonials rise to the occasion.
“We know there are other teams that could beat us and it helps us have more adrenaline,” she said.
One look at the all around scores from the Central Jersey Section I meet that was held at Manalapan High School tells you all you need to know about how special this Freehold team is. Verdon (37.475), Jenna Crisalli (37.10) and King (37.00) finished second, third fourth, and Maria Cusanelli was seventh (36.10) in the all-around.
All four gymnasts have qualified in the all-around for the state individual championships which will be held on Nov. 12 at Montgomery High School. No other team in the state has that many all-around qualifier sA lthough Verdon, who recently won the Shore Conference all-around title, was second to Holmdel’s Kendall Valentin (37.725) on Nov. 5, she said the state sectional meet “was all about the team.”
At the state sectional meet, Verdon and King won individual gold medals. Verdon won the vault (9.5), and King won the balance beam (9.6) and was quite pleased she hit her routine.
“It’s my favorite event,” King said. “It’s the most rewarding.”
Verdon was second on uneven bars (9.55) and fourth on floor exercise, while King was third on floor exercise (9.475) and fifth on uneven bars (9.125).
Crisalli was third on vault (9.3) and uneven bars (9.35) and second on floor exercise (9.5), while Cusanelli was fourth on balance beam (9.45) and fifth on vault (9.225).
Shani Weiss contributed to the team’s success by placing ninth in the all-around (35.225). Rachel Kudler tied for ninth on floor exercise (9.125) and her result was more evidence of the Colonials’ depth.