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Smithtown defeats Babylon to clinch an undefeated League II season

For a while, Jessica Berroyer wasn't what she used to be. After breaking her back on a bars dismount the summer before her sophomore campaign, she was laid up for a year. The idea of climbing back onto the uneven bars was daunting, scary even.

Smithtown gymnastics, too, wasn't in the position it was used to. The Bulls lost a slew of girls entering the season and, once League I mainstays, they were relegated to League II.

So go ahead and call Thursday's season finale at Babylon a homecoming for both.

Berroyer, attempting bars for one of the first times since her injury, was one of a trio of all-arounds, Alexa DiMuro and Brittney Viera included, to lead Smithtown to a 159.55-151.175 win over Babylon to clinch an undefeated League II season, the league title and a top-six ranking, qualifying the Bulls for the Suffolk championship meet Tuesday at West Islip. The Bulls finished the season 7-0 in league and 10-1 overall.

"Going down to League II, we felt like we weren't going to do that well," said DiMuro, who won the all-around with a 32.7. "We just didn't have a lot of people , but we ended up gaining a lot of girls and it was so helpful. It was great to win league for once."

One of those girls was Berroyer, whose capable bars routine, which included a handstand pirouette, a kip and a cast handstand into her dismount, earned her a 7.0. Her best events, though, were floor (8.70) and her first-place beam routine (8.15), which boasted three pitch-perfect straddle jumps into straight jumps -- enough to compensate for a slip on her back handspring.

Berroyer earned a 31.9 overall, while Viera, who took first on floor with an 8.85, had a 31.95 overall. Highlights for Babylon included Takera Purdie's third-place bar routine, good for a 7.55 and Alex Singleton on vault (8.025) and floor (8.35).

"We had a few goals this year," coach Kathy Eagan said. "We wanted to be League II champs and we wanted to make it to the team championship. We're thrilled. We know we're not going to be able to catch up to the top two teams, but we're hoping to make a splash."

Berroyer, in particular, is more than ready to put the past where it belongs. "I was scared in the beginning, but now it's all good," she said. "You just can't think about it. You have to think that it's all normal and that things are how they used to be before I got hurt."

Thursday was one step closer.

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