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Bethpage takes Nassau Team Championship

Plainview's Melissa Kropf performs her floor routine during

Plainview's Melissa Kropf performs her floor routine during the Nassau County varsity gymnastics team championship at Bethpage High School. She scored a 9.025 in the event. (Feb. 7, 2012) Photo Credit: James Escher

For the second consecutive season, Bethpage lost to Plainview JFK in the Conference I gymnastics title meet, only to come back and beat JFK in the Nassau Team Championship the following week.

Bethpage finished with an all-around score of 170.925 Tuesday night to win its second Nassau Team Championship, edging its rivals from Plainview and Massapequa, which rounded out the top three at 167.450 and 161.80, respectively.

"It's the perfect note to end on," senior captain Erin Roach said. "I couldn't have asked for a better team to do it with."

The meet ultimately came down to the final event, with Bethpage, needing to maintain its lead of 3.175, performing on vault, and Plainview competing on floor, trying to close the gap.

Bethpage, as it had the entire meet, came through with a total team effort. In three of four events, each Bethpage gymnast scored at least an 8.0, including the critical vault event. Alyssa Testa had a team-high score of 8.825 and Sarah Ciresi completed a tsuk for an 8.65.

"I felt really good because I knew my team was counting on me," Ciresi said. "I had a feeling we had won it after that."

Alexis Fraher had the team's best all-around score, 35.150.

"It's exciting," Fraher said. "I did my front-front today on vault and stuck my dismount on bars. It was a good day for me."

For Roach, the victory caps a six-year varsity career that includes five trips to the state championships. Roach had missed the team's previous three meets and was denied a chance to compete for her sixth bid to states this season because of a back injury, but returned Tuesdayto lead Bethpage one final time.

Roach was at her best on floor, scoring a team-high 8.975 as she elegantly landed each of her moves, lifting her teammates as she fought through the pain.

"I rested [my back] for the last three weeks just so I could come out and do what I did today especially," Roach said. "I performed as well as I could."

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