Newsday's All-Long Island gymnastics team 2024, from left: Coach Melissa...

Newsday's All-Long Island gymnastics team 2024, from left: Coach Melissa Valentino of Middle Country, Lindsey Kutchens of West Babylon, Leah Chin of Syosset, Marisa Schlossman of Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, Hannah Hughes of Middle Country, Isabella Field of Bay Shore/Islip and Bayla Goldberg of Smithtown. Credit: Dawn McCormick

Newsday Gymnast of the Year: Hannah Hughes, Middle Country, Jr.

It was a heck of a five days for Hughes.

First came the team championships at Whitman High School on Oct. 30 where she recorded a meet-best all-around score of 38.475 and won on beam (9.575), vault (9.600) and floor (9.725). Hughes’ dominant performance, which included a new personal record on floor, helped Middle Country win its first Suffolk title since 2003 – 10 days after it finished an undefeated regular season and won the county’s League I crown.

“When you talk to her, her excitement to win that team championship with her team was above and beyond one of the best things that happened,” Middle Country coach Melissa Valentino said.

Four days later, during the county's individual championship meet at West Islip High School, Hughes claimed her second consecutive Suffolk all-around title with a score of 38.200. That win came with victories on vault (9.700) and floor (9.700).


Hughes was unable to defend her state all-around title and back-to-back state vault titles on March 2 in Buffalo due to an undisclosed injury she suffered a few weeks before the meet. But it was another historic season for the junior, who is Newsday’s Gymnast of the Year for the third straight season.

“She wasn’t able to compete in states, but I don’t think that takes away from her abilities or the hard work she’s put in all throughout the year and what she accomplished on Long Island as a second-year all-county, all-around champion,” Valentino said. “We do expect her to be back for [next] season and for her to finish her senior year super strong.”

Hughes, who Valentino said is “very calculated,” is the textbook student-athlete, who thrives away from the sport. She attended March’s NYSPHSAA Student Leadership Conference in Albany, takes AP classes, is involved in community service, and is being heavily recruited by colleges. 

Said Valentino: “She’s the whole package.”

Nassau Gymnast of the Year: Marisa Schlossman, Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK, Jr.

Schlossman repeated as Nassau’s all-around individual champion on Feb. 14 at Carle Place High School with a score of 36.500, winning on vault (9.300) and bars (9.375). She dominated the Nassau team championships on Feb. 15 at Hicksville High School, winning the all-around (36.800) with a 9.600 on bars and a 9.550 on vault. The repeat All-Long Island honoree added a 9.15 on vault at the state championship meet, finishing 18th in the all-around (33.900).

“Dedicated, leader, perseverance, hunger to win; those are all words I’d use to describe Marisa,” Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK assistant coach Jeff Salzberg said after Schlossman was crowned Nassau’s all-around champion.

Leah Chin, Syosset, Jr.

Chin helped Syosset win the Nassau team title for the fifth time in six years by finishing second in the all-around (36.350). Chin finished second in the all-around at the Nassau individual county championships (35.950). The three-time Newsday All-Long Island selection had Nassau’s highest all-around score at the state meet with a 35.675, 13th overall thanks to a tie for fifth on beam (9.4).

Isabella Field, Bay Shore/Islip, Jr.

A two-time Newsday All-Long Island selection, Field finished fourth in the all-around at the Suffolk individual county championships (36.725). At that meet, she finished second on floor (9.600) and third on beam (9.250). She owned Long Island’s fourth-highest all-around score at the state championships (34.900), where she finished 15th overall and 10th on beam (9.100).

Bayla Goldberg, Smithtown, So.

Goldberg finished third in the all-around at the Suffolk individual county championships with a score of 36.900 and won on bars with a 9.525. Goldberg had Long Island’s second-highest all-around score at the state championships, and finished ninth overall, with a 36.600. She had Long Island’s best score on bars, and the fourth-highest mark in the state (9.700) at the championships.

Lindsey Kutchens, West Babylon, Jr.

Kutchens starred in West Babylon’s first season since 2018, finishing second in the all-around at the individual county championships with a score of 37.100 and winning on beam (9.350). She was Long Island’s highest all-around finisher at the state championships, finishing eighth overall with a 36.625 and helping the Section XI team finish third.

Newsday Coach of the Year: Melissa Valentino, Middle Country

Valentino led Middle Country to its first county title since 2003, posting a season-high score of 176.075 at the Suffolk team championships on Oct. 30. Middle Country went 10-0 in the regular season and 6-0 in Suffolk League I, claiming the league crown with a 173.85-169.925 win at previously undefeated Half Hollow Hills on Oct. 20.


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