The Bay Shore/Islip gymnastics team was calm, cool and championship-ready on Tuesday.
The combined squad captured its second straight Suffolk championship, scoring 176.250 and wrapping up back-to-back undefeated seasons at Connetquot. The Thunderbirds placed second with 171.475 and Smithtown rounded out the top three with 167.450.
Skye Harper, a senior at Bay Shore, led the way, placing first in the all-around (38.200), and also won the vault (9.625), bars (9.525), beam (9.500) and floor exercise (9.550).
“We focused on doing what we know how to do,” Harper said. “We knew if we did what we had worked on, then everyone would hit, and everyone would stay calm. That really helped everyone do better.”
Junior Kerin Spadaro, who attends Islip, also recorded a handful of impressive performances, including second-place finishes on bars (9.400), beam (9.300) and a tie for second on floor (9.450) with Connetquot’s Sarah Moussa.
She credited Bay Shore/Islip’s team-first mindset for helping jumpstart her performance and said that the group rallied together to clinch another county crown.
“I think that all the cheering helped, and we were really prepared in all of our routines,” Spadaro said. “Having your team behind you, and having them calm, kind of helps make you more relieved.”
Coach Robin Thomas echoed the sentiment, saying that despite Bay Shore/Islip’s small roster of only nine this season, the group remained confident throughout the fall. She added that she worked with the younger gymnasts, fine-tuning their skills and helping them prepare for the county meet.
“We had a small team this year,” Thomas said. “So, I really spent a lot of time with the kids on being a team. I always spend a lot of time with my low-level kids, rather than my high-level kids because I think they’re the ones that give you depth. We had that.”
While county titles are starting to become habit for Bay Shore/Islip, the squad wasn’t taking anything for granted, and relished the opportunity to compete together.
“That was one of the reasons I ever wanted to do high school gymnastics,” Thomas said. “So the kids could understand how to be a team player and be part of a team.”