LATHAM, N.Y. — Considering all the countless hours she puts into mastering her craft, considering all the perseverance and dedication the sport requires, Commack senior Lauren Gomes benefits from the occasional reminder for why she commits herself so firmly.
She wore the reminder around her neck Saturday.
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“It’s just a good little message,” Gomes said with a smile as she looked down at her first-place medal, “just to know that this sport was meant for me.”
With her score of 9.575, Gomes won bars at the state gymnastics championships and dazzled the crowd at Shaker High School.
“There definitely were some nerves because it wasn’t about me this time,” said Gomes, who finished fourth in the all-around with a 37.150. “When you compete outside of school, it’s all about how you perform, but this is a team thing, and I’m representing my county. And I wanted to represent them the right way.”
Gomes’ emphatic embrace with coach JoAnna Judge after her routine said it all.
“I knew I nailed it,” Gomes said. “I didn’t know how the score was going to come out, but I didn’t care. I just put my best out there.”
With Gomes leading the way, the Suffolk state squad, which won the team championship last year, placed second with a 45.550. But Gomes had plenty of help.
In her first year as a member of the Half Hollow Hills East varsity gymnastics team, sophomore Nicole Jackson tied for first on vault with a 9.700.
“It was a lot of hours put into this,” said Jackson, who also placed second (9.500) on bars, “but it’s mostly the determination and the encouragement that helps you do your best out there.
Bay Shore’s Skye Harper placed third on beam with a 9.250. Cassie Bergin of East Islip tied for fifth in the event with a 9.150. Bay Shore’s Hayden Davidson placed sixth on vault (9.525). Commack’s Jacklyn Dolitsky (9.325) and Amanda McNelis (9.275) placed fifth and sixth on bars, respectively.
“We’re all so close and that just makes everything easier,” Kings Park senior Skylar Haas said. “We had a team meeting last night where we just said, ‘Let’s go out and have fun, let’s do what we know how to do, and accept whatever we get.’ And that’s what we did.”