By the scant margin of 1.05 points, the New Milford High School gymnastics team settled Saturday for bridesmaid status at the state 'L' divisional tournament.

Coach Bethany Mihaly's Green Wave totalled 136.675 to fall just shy of Southington's 137.725 in state team competition at Pomperaug High School in Southbury.

Glastonbury finished a close third at 135.325.

The silver plaque wasn't quite what the NMHS girls had hoped for but it will prove a fine complement to the South-West Conference championship banner they'd earned in early February.

"I am proud of them for getting runnerup," reflected coach Mihaly, "and for being gracious and kind to all of the other teams."

"Yet I know that this group has at least one more championship left in them. They are so talented and committed," she said.

As the Green Wave left behind the bittersweet feelings of Saturday's meet, they prep this week for the state open individual tournament on tap tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 a.m. at NMHS.

Perhaps affected by having to miss practice several times last week leading up to the team competition, the girls are hopeful to be at their best for their home finale.

"All of them, especially the top scorers -- Ashley O'Connor, Libby Martin, Carla Hernandez, Tori Weiss and Colleen Menard -- are really after redemption this weekend," added coach Mihaly.

"And to be able to compete at Opens in front of the home crowd," she concluded, "just adds to the determination and excitement."

Last week's meet was strictly for team scores but the Green Wave offered several strong individual performances.

Senior Ashley O'Connor had the high score of the meet with her 9.7 floor exercise, added the day's best balance beam roiutine at 9.275 and contributed 9.2 in vault, the second best in that event.

Green Wave frosh Carla Herndandez achieved a meet-best 9.075 on the uneven bars and added 9.2 in floor exercise.

Junior Colleen Menard peaked at 8.750 on beam and 8.8 in floor exercise and Victoria Weiss excelled with her 8.925 on beam.

If successful tomorrow, the season will end for the NMHS girls March 13 in the New England tournament at Jonathan Law High School in Milford.

-- Norm Cummings