In gymnastics terms, Wantagh stumbled, took its deduction and bounced back for an otherwise flawless routine.
A year after an injury-plagued season knocked the Warriors to the bottom of Conference I and relegated them to Conference II, Wantagh, behind Brianna Quinn, Julie Giardina and Gillian Chowske, announced its return to form in a 158.55-121.10 victory over Garden City Wednesday night. The Warriors (8-1) took the league title and earned a spot back in Conference I next year.
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"It feels good," coach Eileen Keener said. "We had so many injuries last year and we wanted to prove we could be back up there. And the girls deserve it. They've worked so hard and we wanted to show that we were solid, that we could stand on our own two feet."
Quinn took the all-around with a 34.9 and placed first in every event but one. Her Yurchenko was good for an 8.80 on vault, while Giardina's front handspring was second with an 8.10. Garden City's Taylor Morris and Chelsea Wood led the Trojans with 7.95s in the event.
Where Wantagh really broke out, though, was beam. Giardina (8.9) and Quinn (8.8) both landed their double back handsprings, with Quinn sticking her pike dismount for good measure. Chowske, a freshman, nailed a back tuck en route to an 8.7.
"I was really proud that I stuck that today," Chowske said of the move, a blind, no-handed backflip. "The season was definitely a struggle last year and I was hurt most of the season. I feel like I'm still coming back, but we've been doing really well and I'm proud of my whole team."
The Warriors, though, are hardly done. With the team championship coming up on Feb. 9, there's one more goal on the table.
"I think we have a pretty good chance of placing top three in the team counties," Quinn said. Big wins like Wednesday, she said, just give them confidence. "Because next year, we're going to be in Conference I."
In other words, Wantagh might as well get used to competing against those teams now.