It was a quintessential match in the ultimate sport of inches, and the diminutive Jordan Sack used every single one of hers.
The Plainview seventh-grader didn't necessarily know it, but the Conference I gymnastics regular-season title rested firmly on the neat double salto she had mustered into submission two days prior.
She steeled herself and leaped into action: two fully extended aerial flips and three cartwheels for good measure - topped off with a giddy smile full of braces when her feet stuck resolutely to the mat. It was enough to earn her an 8.95 on floor, her highest score of the year, and help undefeated Plainview knock down Oceanside in a 170.65-169.85 thriller at Jamaica Avenue Elementary School in Plainview.
The match was the regular-season finale for two rival teams that have only competed from afar this year. Both entered the day perfect at 9-0.
"I knew I could do it," said Sack, still smiling 15 minutes later. "I just nailed it."
It was, apparently, a day made for stepping up. Emily Hinz, a freshman, also attempted and nailed the double salto and finished with an 8.6.
"I don't know [what got into me]," Hinz said. "I guess it was the pasta I ate."
Ilana Simhon, meanwhile, anchored Plainview's bar routine after struggling with it all season, she said. She earned a team-high 8.15 after sticking a toe-on-front dismount to put her over the edge.
"I've been scared of certain things on bar all year. I ended up first . . . with the dismount. I usually don't do a dismount," Simhon joked as her giggling teammates surrounded her. Simhon finished second all-around with a 34.7. Victoria Vitale took first with a 35.15.
It was a tough-luck match for Oceanside, which struggled to rack up points against stringent judging. This, despite scores in the nines for three gymnasts on floor. Paige McCarthy led with a 34.35 overall.
The tight competition was push enough, said Danielle Sadick, one of Plainview's leaders.
"It gave us motivation," Sadick said simply. "We saw the other team and we were all pumped."