Family photos will reveal that Lauren Gomes doesn't have any sisters. The Commack gymnast is a triplet and has two brothers.
But Gomes insists she does have 10 sisters. She'll point to the group photo she took with her teammates Tuesday night after Commack won the Suffolk County team championship at Connetquot.
"Every one of them, they're like family -- they are family. They're my sisters," Gomes said after she won the all-around with a score of 37.275, narrowly edging teammate Jacklyn Dolitsky (37.100).
The Cougars posted a record-setting score of 181.475, shattering the old mark of 180.70 set by Kings Park in 2004. "It's amazing," Gomes said. "This is just a really special group."
Added coach Joanna Judge: "It's incredible because of the type of athletes they are and the type of women they are. They're the happiest people you'll ever meet. No one deserves it more. No one.
"You pray for a group like this."
Bay Shore/Islip, led by Mattea Gravina, Hayden Davidson, Skye Harper and Kerin Spadaro, placed second (176.100). Smithtown (165.875), Half Hollow Hills (164.075), Babylon (158.750) and four-time defending champion Ward Melville (158.275) rounded out the scores.
Gomes' floor exercise was set to an instrumental version of Drake's "Right Above It." "Brand-new routine," Gomes said. "My brother picked the song. It brings out my personality."
But against the shouts of encouragement from her teammates, the song was barely audible -- and the emotion kept building. By the time Commack's final participant in the event, Dolitsky, had finished her 9.500 on floor, her teammates had rushed the mat to hug her while she was still mid-pose. "I get nervous sometimes," Dolitsky said, "but I didn't today. I couldn't when I had everyone cheering me on."
Dolitsky's twin sister Gillian finished eighth in the all-around (34.950). Krista Hagen placed sixth with a 35.975. Nicole Droesch (33.200) and Amanda McNelis (26.675) also scored well for Commack.
Judge and assistant coach Lauren Mock will tell you: It's even sweeter when you're having fun.
"Our common ground is that we've all decided that we want to be happy doing this," Judge said. "We want to have fun."