Bay Shore's Olivia O'Connor breaks record, takes home all-around title in gymnastics
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She may have taken a year off from high school competition, but Bay Shore's Olivia O'Connor is back on top of the Suffolk gymnastics world -- and in record fashion.
After sitting out her junior year, the senior won the all-around at Tuesday's Suffolk individual championships at Babylon High School. O'Connor scored a 38.675, breaking Christa Devine's Suffolk record of 38.425, set in 2004. O'Connor will attend William and Mary next fall.
"I really have no words. It's so exciting," O'Connor said of breaking the record. "I was deciding whether or not I even wanted to [compete] on varsity this year, but I'm so happy I did. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
O'Connor, grouped with some of the best gymnasts in the county -- including Ward Melville's Cydney Crasa -- registered a 9.675 on the vault in her opening event and scored a 9.725 on her second, the bars.
After Crasa delivered a beam routine complete with music and Egyptian-style dance moves, O'Connor answered. A 9.7 beam score bested the Ward Melville freshman by two-tenths of a point in that event.
"I stayed focused," O'Connor said. "There was no one else competing in the gym [when I went]. All eyes were on me. I had to handle the pressure and, I think, I handled it well."
West Islip's Courtney VonBraunsberg finished second in the all-around, scoring a 38.075. She won the county title on the vault, scoring a 9.70.
VonBraunsberg and O'Connor, best friends and club gymnastics teammates, were arm and arm after the final results were announced. "We wanted to place first and second," O'Connor said. "We didn't care what the order was."
Crasa finished third in the all-around, scoring a 37.525.