Ciresi, Kaletcher, Fraher, Firth lead Bethpage gymnastics
The team with the quadruple threat took the Triple Crown.
Bethpage gymnastics capped off a perfect season with a perfect finish last Tuesday, winning their third straight county championship with 174.775 points -- 5.525 points more than its closest competitor, Plainview. That's one.
The team finished the regular season undefeated for the first time in its five-year history. That's two.
"To have four girls from Bethpage going to states is so hard to accomplish," said Sarah Ciresi, the captain who will compete as a bars and vault specialist and whose 35.85 in the team championship helped secure the title.
Ciresi will be joined by co-captain Jamie Kaletcher, freshman Lexi Fraher and eighth-grader Alyssa Firth, the same crew that lit up the gym at Plainview Middle School on Tuesday. Fraher took second in the all-around with a 36.925, landing her front-front vault for a meet-high 9.5757. The high-difficulty skill, which involves propelling her body with enough force to do a front tuck off her front handspring, was nerve-wracking, she said.
"But I remembered what my [club] coach told me," she said. "When you get nervous, use that . . . My heart was pounding, though. I literally went up to the girls and said, 'I am going to have a heart attack.' "
Kaletcher, one of only two seniors on a team that lost 10 girls to graduation, added that the slew of accomplishments were the most satisfying of her career. To have huge contributions from newcomers like Firth (a 9.25 on vault and a 35.575 on the all-around in the team championship), made it all the better, Fraher said.
"This is the sweetest feeling in the world," Kaletcher added.