Defending NJSIAA champion Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School and four of its Shore Conference rivals surged through the sectional round of the 2015 state tournament, bringing themselves one step closer to a title.
RBC posted a season-best 113.4 to win the Central Jersey Section I crown, while St. John Vianney High School (113.225), Colts Neck High School (112), Howell High School (107.5) and Ocean Township High School (107.3) also earned trips to the state championships with qualifying scores at the Nov. 7 sectional competition.
As a result, five of the 10 squads that qualified for the NJSIAA finals hail from the Shore Conference.
The standout performer was Kristen Politz of the Lancers. The Penn State University bound senior registered the top all-around score in Central Jersey Section I — a 38.725 total that included gold medals on bars and floor. Politz finished in second place on vault and beam.
Ally Cucich and Sierra Garcia led the Caseys to their third sectional win in as many years. Cucich had an all-around score of 38.15, and Garcia posted a 37.65. Those scores were surpassed only by Politz, Howell’s Monica Servidio (38.375) and Marlboro High School’s Melissa Astarita (38.3), who took home the gold medal for bars.
The Lancers saw Arianna Agrapides (37.6) close the day in the top 10, thanks to a first-place finish on vault. Alexandra Panetta (36.9) also qualified for the state individual tournament.
Colts Neck sent the most gymnasts from Central Jersey Section 1 to the finals. Samantha Morrison, Sophie Garito, Charlotte Haaf and Triniti Barron all moved on after strong showings last week.
Freehold High School’s Arah Godbole and Isabella Schaffer advanced as well. Julianna Drapkin of Holmdel High School, who won the all-around competition in 2014, will have a chance to defend her title.
Among the other individual qualifiers are Ocean Township’s Cassidy Marquette and Middletown High School South’s Kerra Masella. A record high of 18 gymnasts advanced out of the section.
The state finals will be held Nov. 12 at Montgomery High School at 6 p.m.
RBC’s win came on the heels of a third consecutive Shore Conference Tournament title. It was also the 11th time in program history that the Caseys sat atop the conference.
The Caseys set a conference record with a score of 112.5, eclipsing their own previous high of 112.425 — a record that tied Freehold — in last year’s meet. Cucich, a sophomore, led the way, as she placed third in the all-around. Garcia held the eighth-best mark of the conference championships.