Frontier junior Jenna Blair decided this was the year she’d join the high school gymnastics team and her decision proved to be a good one.
Blair won the all-around title at Friday’s Section VI Championships at Williamsville North with a 37.450, after taking the title on the beam (9.550) and vault (9.375) events and finishing second on floor (9.325) and bars (9.200).
A club gymnast for Stumpf’s Gymnastics Center in Williamsville, Blair said she joined the team for the experience and to get ready for the club season which starts later this month.
“I was really confident in everything, going through the motions and routines, and came in here with a good mindset,” she said. “I was focused on making my beam routine and sticking everything and doing the best I could and that’s exactly what I did.”
Freshman Kayla Gleason took third in the all-around with a 36.600 and sophomore Cali Czarcinski finished sixth in the all-around (35.925) to help Frontier to its first Section VI title with 109.75, just outlasting Lancaster (108.500).
Both Gleason, whose best finish was a second on beam (9.450), and Czarcinski, whose top finish was a third on bars (9.025), will return to the state championships.
Qualifiers from the Section VI meet will participate in the state championships Feb. 28-29 at Cold Spring Harbor High School in Long Island. Section VI is the defending champion, having broken a 15-year-old state record last year with a 187.95 score. It was the fifth title in the last eight years for the section representing Western New York.
“This was a long time coming. We’ve had a lot of seconds and thirds,” said Frontier coach Jill Wierzba, who added her team was smaller in numbers than usual but that helped gymnasts focus on the details. “We came in here wanting to be a little better than our best and that’s what we did.”
“With Jenna, along with Kayla and Cali, it’s a real force,” she added.
Senior Alison Wojciechowski led Lancaster, finishing second in the all-around with a 36.675, after winning a sectional title on bars (9.300) and finishing second on vault (9.300). She said she was happily surprised by her second-place finish, which also included taking seventh on her weakest event, beam.
“I think I just kind of stayed focused and I knew I struggled with beam, so I just had to breathe throughout the routine and become one with the beam, as my mom says to me,” said Wojciechowski, who qualified for states on bars the past two seasons. “And I just kind of wanted to have one good last bar routine.”
Lancaster had lost to Frontier by 10 points in the first meet of the season and throughout the fall worked its way back into the sectional title mix.
“We knew Frontier would be tough, but our girls were starting to come back [from injury] and our team score was going up and up every meet,” said Lancaster’s 32nd-year coach Donna Aquino, who’s in her last season before retiring. “We knew we could keep it close; I didn’t know it would be this close. I’m very pleased.”
Also of note, Emma Newman of Kenmore won floor with a 9.475; and Brielle Kaplewicz of Williamsville North took fourth in the all-around with a 36.275, including a fourth on bars (8.900). Clarence’s Mya Wozniak took third on beam (9.400) and fourth on vault (9.100). Lancaster’s Courtney Ando placed fourth on floor (9.200) and beam (9.350).
Qualifying for the state team were Blair, Wojciechowski and Gleason for all-around; Kaplewicz for vault and bars; Ando for bars and beam; Czarcinski for vault and bars; Wozniak for vault and beam; Newman for floor; Lancaster’s Grace Harry (beam); and Clarence’s Elaina Lorenz (floor).