Green Wave gymnasts rise to the occasion

NMHS trio qualifies for climactic state open competition

The final weeks of the state high school season won't quite match the dramatic run to glory of last winter's New Milford High School gymnastics team.

Yet the Green Wave has plenty of reason to be proud in 2010-11.

Coach Bethany Mihaly's defending state open and New England championship squad will be represented by three athletes -- senior Colleen Menard, junior Carla Hernandez and freshman Alison Profeta -- in this year's state open meet tomorrow (Saturday), March 5 at Pomperaug High School in Southbury.

The Green Wave standouts earned their way by virtue of their performances at last Saturday's state class `L' meet held in the friendly confines of the New Miford High School gym.

NMHS also welcomed state class `S' gymnasts for their meet before the `L' meet, and a busy day of gymnastics closed in early evening with class `M' girls in competition.

Glastonbury claimed the state `L' team championship with 142.3 points, edging Southington (138.225) and coach Mihaly's host Green Wave (a season-high 135.975) in the eight-team field.

Carla Hernandez led the way for the Green Wave with her 36.05 all-around total for the four events. She placed second in floor exercise with her 9.2, third on balance beam at 9.0 and fourth on the uneven bars with her 9.3.

Colleen Menard (33.95) and Alison Profeta (33.875) played important roles for the NMHS girls en route to their third-place finish. Colleen tied for third place in floor exercise at 8.9.

Allison Cheng, Jessica Cochrane and Ashley O'Berry also competed for coach Mihaly.

Heading into the state open, Colleen Menard is eligible for vaulting, balance beam and floor exercise; Carla Hernandez is qualified to compete on bars, in floor exercise and on beam; and Alison Profeta made the grade as a frosh gymnast in vault and on the bars.

The Green Wave also recently hosted the South-West Conference championship meet, placing second with 133.6 points to Pomperaug's victorious 140.0 effort.

Highlighting the NMHS girls' individual efforts Feb. 10 were Carla Hernandez' triumphant 9.6 routine on the uneven bars and Colleen Menard's runnerup 9.0 display in floor exercise.

Carla Hernandez finished second all-around at 35.4 and Colleen Menard was fifth at 34.05 to earn all-SWC recognition.

Alison Profeta contributed 33.5 and joined senior teammate Jessica Cochrane as a second-team all-SWC gymnast.

As the girls closed the books on the regular season during ensuing days with makeup dual meets, the Green Wave boasted a 12-1 record.

Photography by Trish Haldin