By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing writer
NORTHBOROUGH / SOUTHBOROUGH – The Algonquin gymnastics team was making history when the world shut down due to COVID-19 two years ago.
They had already won in sections, finished second in States and were heading into the New England playoff round for the first time since 2012. Then the pandemic struck and forced the event to be canceled.
The team had a few meetings last year and ended up going undefeated there. But it was not the same.
Now, as testing began this year, there was an overwhelming sense of joy and excitement about doing a full season again.
“I’m so excited it’s good to be back to normal and everything is about the same except we’re still wearing masks,” head coach Jordan McStay said in a recent interview. “We have a full season. We have leagues, sections, states. It’s just good to get back to normal.
Debroczy, Gorman, Haven lead the team as captains
Lizzy Debroczy was a young phenomenon this 2019-2020 season. Now, as elders, Debroczy and his classmate Mia Gorman are a dynamic duo at the top of Algonquin’s list.
McStay couldn’t be happier to find these two players together for a final round, along with fellow senior captain Anna Haven.
“I hope these two will make the senior national team,” she said. “I hope they make individuals.”
“Anna has come so far since her first year,” McStay continued, noting Haven’s successes and strengths. “The three are really all great leaders and will be huge pieces of the puzzle for us this season.
“They are very strong and their skill level is very high, but when it comes to the team aspect, they put that before their own individual competition,” she said. “If they’re injured they’re more than happy to walk away and compete and they’re on the sidelines cheering on the team. [They] bring team spirit, that’s for sure.
There are a lot of other seniors in this year’s squad. Caroline Armstrong, Max Hanna, Olivia Lipman, Madison Maletta, Kirsty O’Grady and Luke Tegan are all in the 2022 class along with Gorman, Debroczy and Haven.
The optimistic coach ahead of the 2021-2022 season
McStay was on the team in 2012, the last time Algonquin had the kind of success its 2019-20 iteration had. She said the loss in the final playoff rounds of the 2019-20 season was disappointing.
“The girls were just ready to go and have the meet of their lives,” she said.
McStay is optimistic, however, after his team were able to hone their craft in last year’s shortlist of games.
“Honestly, I think we could be better than two years ago because everyone was able to really focus on improving their skills last year in a less competitive environment where there was maybe had some pressure, ”McStay said.
These playoff competitions remain in months. But as McStay works with her team this month, she reminds them of one thing in particular: “Take advantage of it, because you never know when it’s not going to be a part of your life anymore. “
“I even said that last year, the season being so weird, I could see them frustrated at times and I had to remind them, ‘Look, we couldn’t have anything,’ McStay said. doing everything gymnastics, we couldn’t compete at all, we could just train, so we just need to enjoy what we have.
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