Montclair High School gymnastics: Strength on the bars, beam bolsters hope for titles
For the Montclair High School gymnastics team’s members, this is the time of season when they are looking to peak.
In the next couple of weeks Montclair will be participating in the North Jersey Gymnastics League Division A Tournament and in the state tournament on Oct. 25 and Nov. 5, respectively.
So far so good for the Mountie gymnasts.
Montclair has posted its best dual match record in recent history, 8-1 as of last week. The lone loss was to rival Ridgewood, 99.55-92.95.
"Our goals this year are to qualify as a team to sectionals," said Montclair coach Lauren Kruse, who added that for the team to qualify for the state tournament it will have to finish in the top five at the North Jersey Gymnastics League Division A Tournament.
"We are going to work on this by cleaning up and perfecting some of our current routines and also adding in some new skills and new gymnasts to the lineup."
At the league tournament last season, the Mounties finished fourth, but the difference between Montclair and the tournament winner, Ridgewood, was only 1.4 points.
Kruse knows the ingredients her squad needs to dethrone Ridgewood at the league meet next week. "To beat Ridgewood at Leagues, we would need to stay on the beam and perform our absolute best on all of the events," the coach said. “We are very strong on the bars this year, so we hope to use this to our advantage."
It has been the success on the parallel bars and the beam that has propelled Montclair to its hot start in 2022. And it’s been a mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen that has been responsible for that success.
The Mounties have already qualified individually in the bars for the states; senior Bianca La Fazia, sophomore Sarah de la Rosa and freshmen Delilah John and Bailey Grant will be competing in that event. Grant has posted a 9.4 this season on the bars, the highest on the team. On the beam, junior Avery Mckay and de la Rosa have qualified individually for the states.
The top returning gymnasts this season are La Fazia and de la Rosa. "The great thing about Bianca and Sarah is that they have a good balance of difficult skills and also perform their difficult routines very clean and precise," Kruse said. "We can always count on Bianca and Sarah to perform well and motivate the team."
La Fazia is one of the three co-captains, along with seniors Emma Zielinski and Maya Dressler.
The top newcomers in 2022 have been freshmen John and Grant.
For the season Montclair has registered more than 100 points in three dual meets, including 102 points against Tenafly in a 102-88.5 win at home on Oct. 11. The Mounties took the top three spots in all four events, bars, beam, floor exercise and vault. La Fazia had the best all-around mark at 33.35.