On the outside looking in, gymnastics appears to be strictly about the individual. And in many cases, this sentiment holds true.
“Outside of school,” Plainview JFK sophomore Miranda Lund said, “you just compete for yourself.”
But something changes when Lund dons her school’s colors and warms up alongside her teammates. If you watched the Plainview JFK sideline in its 164.7-163.6 win over host Massapequa at McKenna Elementary School Monday night, you could see it.
“Now,” Lund said, “it’s like you want your teammates to do better than you. You want everyone to get a higher score because you want to win as a team. How you individually do . . . that becomes secondary.”
Lund, who won the all-around with a 36.60, helped Plainview JFK (9-0) clinch the Nassau I title over previously undefeated Massapequa (8-1).
“Look at the whole picture. You’re part of a team,” eighth-year coach Debbie Rut told her gymnasts before the meet. “One girl can’t win this by herself.
“And that’s exactly what happened. They were all about the team.”
The clash between Nassau’s top two squads lived up to its billing, the perfect stage-setter for next week’s Nassau championships at Hicksville.
Massapequa’s Gillian Murphy was stellar, winning the beam with a 9.15 and taking second in the all-around with a 35.65. Plainview JFK’s Jessica Lopez (34.5) and Renee Vulin (33.10) finished third and fourth in the all-around, respectively, and Julianne Smith (32.30) and Heidi Baldinger (32.20) placed fifth and sixth, respectively, for Massapequa.
“We had to step it up today,” Lopez said. “We all did our hardest skills.”
For the meet’s final rotation, Massapequa took to floor and Plainview JFK performed on beam. It set up a sequence of occurrences that served well as a county tournament preview:
Lund’s awe-inspiring dismount from beam signified the end of her routine and the beginning of Murphy’s on floor, where the Massapequa sophomore exuded grace with every flip and movement.
And to think at this time last year, Lund was the team’s volunteer scorekeeper as she was forced to sit with an injury for most of the season.
“It’s been absolutely wonderful to be back,” Lund said. “I’m just happy I’m able to help the team.”