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For Gillian Murphy, Massapequa, it’s all about the garlic knots

Gillian Murphy of Massapequa performs on the uneven

Gillian Murphy of Massapequa performs on the uneven bars during a Nassau gymnastics meet between Long Beach and Massapequa on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. She scored an 8.30 in the event and won the all-around with a 35.30. Massapequa won the meet by a score of 166.30-152.20. Credit: James Escher

Massapequa gymnast Gillian Murphy had a ton to smile about. Her team had just notched their highest point total of the season, she’s progressing nicely in her return from a foot injury and the Chiefs are undefeated. But mostly, Murphy was just excited about the garlic knots.

“Our coach promised us garlic knots with our pizza [at practice Friday] if we got 165 points,” Murphy said after leading Massapequa to a 166.3-152.2 victory over host Long Beach in a Nassau I gymnastics meet Thursday afternoon.

Murphy won the all-around with 35.3 points. She took victories in the vault (8.8), bars (8.3), beam (9.35), and tied for second on the floor (8.85) with teammate Heidi Baldinger. Long Beach’s Allison Cohen and Massapequa’s Emily Corso tied for first on the floor (9.0). Baldinger placed second in the all-around (33.3).

Murphy, who won the all-around at last season’s Nassau county team championship, suffered a sprain near her toe in early December that kept her out three weeks. Thursday night marked only her second competition since returning.

“I feel pretty good,” Murphy said. “There’s significantly less pain than before, which is good.”

Murphy said that the sprain only bothers her when she turns during her floor routine.

“I just bite my tongue, and then keep going,” she said.

Murphy brought back her backhand-to-backhand spring on the beam, something she hasn’t done since last summer.

“It’s something that I’ve been doing on-and-off for the past couple of years, so I just decided to throw it in there and it worked out,” Murphy said.

Corso was the last Chief to take to the floor, making it count with an impressive routine.

In addition to the floor, which is her top event, Corso said she was happy with her vaulting, where she and teammate Jennifer Mullan tied for second with an 8.0.

“I did my half-on, full-off,” Corso said of the vaulting technique. “I don’t always stick it, but I stuck all of them in warm-ups.”

At this point, Massapequa (4-0) feels as if it is heading in the right direction. The Chiefs posted 165.25 points in a victory over Hicksville Tuesday and proved Thursday that the lofty point total wasn’t a fluke.

“Each meet, we’re getting better and better,” Corso said. “We’re only going to go up from here.”

But, that’s for the future. As for the present, the garlic knots beckon.

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