It’s been months since Bay Shore/Islip’s Hayden Davidson last competed in varsity gymnastics, but at her final high school meet on Saturday, it looked like nothing had changed.
Davidson placed third in the all-around with a 37.35, leading Section XI to a third-place finish at the gymnastics state championships at Cold Spring Harbor. Despite the Suffolk season taking place in the fall, the final meet comes at the end of the winter season and it bookended her senior year that started with a Bay Shore team title.
“I feel the same,” Davidson said of the difference between then and now. “I feel accomplished. I thought we did a great job, we tried our hardest, it’s really a great feeling.”
Davidson tied for fourth on vault with a 9.475 alongside all-around winner, Williamsville North’s Zoe Kyriakopoulous of Section VI (37.9). Davidson tied for fourth in uneven bars with a 9.15, took seventh on balance beam with a 9.2 and grabbed third on the floor exercise with a 9.525.
Consistency was her strength. She’s always excelled at vault, leaping to sixth at last year’s championships, but it’s the work elsewhere that allowed her to move into the limelight.
“She’s worked hard to pull her other events up,” Bay Shore/Islip coach Robin Harper said. “She’s found the right floor routine that kind of fits her style so she’s done well with that this year.”
But even when success came individually, Davidson focused on her team. Section XI, with a 179.7 score, followed Section VI (186.525) and Section III (181.3). Her regular season teammate, Kerin Spadaro, swung to third on bars with a 9.25.
“We had a lot of injuries this year, so I knew that my spot, everyone’s spot was really important,” Davidson said. “I wanted to be the one to keep the team going.”
Commack’s Krista Hagen placed second on balance beam with a 9.5 and third in the vault with a 9.55. Bay Shore/Islip’s Mattea Gravina took ninth (35.675) in all-around.
Massapequa’s Gillian Murphy led Nassau with an 11th-place, 35.475 all-around score and she had no shortage of fans close to home, evidenced by the cheers following her most difficult flip on floor exercise (9.275).
“I had at least 15 people from my family here alone and a bunch of my team members showed up,” Murphy said. “Knowing that people are here for you is really nice and it makes you feel good.”
But perhaps nobody was feeling as much conflicting emotion as Davidson, between sadness at the end of her senior season and joy for herself and her team.
“We helped out each other. We worked as a team,” she said. “It’s great — it’s a great feeling.”