Port Jefferson's Deanna Eichinger leaps high during her floor exercise...

Port Jefferson's Deanna Eichinger leaps high during her floor exercise during a meet against Copiague on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Port Jefferson gymnastics team is only six girls strong. They're all seniors, and most have been competing for coach Alycia Sullivan since middle school.

Tight-knit? Absolutely. And this season, it's making a big difference.

"We have so much fun every single practice," Sullivan said after the Royals' 121.20-100.60 victory over Copiague Wednesday in League III. "They come into practice eager and excited and it's nice to see all their hard work pay off."

Wednesday, you could see it in Deanna Eichinger, Sullivan said, who took the all-around with a 30.15, including first-place finishes in vault -- a front handspring good for an 8.05 -- and beam, which earned an 8.35. Meghan Dambeck came in second in vault with a 7.55 and second on beam with a 7.30.

But it goes beyond that, she added.

Annie Warm, a novice gymnast, has seen her determination translate to a solid floor routine, Sullivan said. Jackie Fabian excels at the vault, but now will take on beam, despite her fear.

"The first time, she didn't even want to try it," Sullivan said of Fabian. "And she's doing so well."

Rachel Geiser was a dancer with no gymnastics experience and used to only stick to floor, but "she isn't scared and is willing to try anything," Sullivan said. She, too, has moved on to beam.

And finally, there's Devin Ginas, an all-around whose hard work is paying off in consistent improvement.

"To have them since middle school, it's been awesome watching them grow into women," Sullivan said.

The team consistently scores highest in the vault, and that, Sullivan said, comes from those practices.

However fun the girls may find them, she tries to up the stress factor by doing a series of "pressure routines."

"We do mock meets and we run through everything." she said. "We're just trying to be consistent and trying to build confidence in them and show them that they can do it."


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